Using technology to fill the gap in welfare delivery
published : 13 Jun 2018 at 04:25
newspaper section: News
The threat of digitally disruptive technologies has caused many people to grow concerned as they fret about disappearing jobs due to greater automation and advanced technology replacing humans on factory floors, in offices and elsewhere. But such technology can also work wonders to improve the country's welfare delivery system. Better yet, it can be designed to help prevent fraud and corruption.
There are two major problems in the welfare delivery system. Firstly, there is a loophole in identifying welfare recipients, which can open the window to graft. This was evidenced in a number of cases involving centres aimed at assisting and protecting the destitute under the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. The first such case was exposed earlier this year by a Mara Sarakham University student working as an intern at a centre in Khon Kaen.
The centres were set up nationwide to help the impoverished receive state payments of up to 3,000 baht in cash, which are issued three times a year. During her internship, the student and her colleagues were ordered to write fake signatures on the receipts for the money. It was understood that the cash did not get to the destitute but into officials’ own pockets for their personal use.