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India Launches AI-Enabled Portal for Pension Distribution

Image credit: DOPPW_India; Twitter

The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has launched a mobile phone version of Bhavishya, an artificial intelligence-enabled common portal for pensioners and elder citizens. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, recently stated that the portal will aid the seamless processing, tracking, and disbursal of pensions.

According to a press release, the AI-supported portal will send automatic alerts to pensioners and enable users to submit input, suggestions, and grievances. Considering that a large number of retirees are from central armed police forces (CAPFs) who serve in far-flung areas of the country, the software is expected to improve ease of processing, speed, and accuracy. Government officials will intermittently conduct pre-retirement workshops to counsel citizens and learn from their experiences.

Bhavishya was made mandatory for all central government departments in 2017 and is currently implemented in the main secretariat of 97 ministries/departments. Out of the 162,000 pension payment orders (PPOs) processed so far, over 96,000 were e-PPOs issued through Bhavishya.

Bhavishya 8.0 was released in August 2020 with a new feature to PUSH e-PPOs in DigiLocker. DigiLocker is the government’s digitisation online service that allows citizens to store important and official documents. Bhavishya is the first application to use the Digilocker ID-based PUSH technology. 3,892 e-PPOs have been pushed to Digilocker so far. Bhavishya allows retiring employees to link their DigiLocker account to the portal to get an e-PPO. The system has now been made available as a mobile application. Since the software is fed with the latest pension rules, the calculation of pension is accurate and as per rule and not based on the interpretation of the staff concerned, the release added.

Bhavishya has ensured the end-to-end digitisation of the pension processing and payment in line with the government’s objective of enhanced transparency, complete digitisation, and better service delivery. The government has been ramping up digital transformation efforts across all sectors to attain these objectives. Last month, the country launched a single national portal for biotech researchers and start-ups that are seeking regulatory approval for biological research and development projects. The Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP) will allow stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID.

As OpenGov Asia reported, BioRRAP is the first public mechanism that tracks requisite regulatory approvals for research proposals online. The portal will keep researchers notified on the stage of their application in terms of regulatory clearances. It allows users to see preliminary information on all research work carried out by a particular researcher/organisation. It will strengthen interdepartmental cooperation and enhance accountability and efficacy in the functioning of agencies that regulate and issue permissions for biological research.

Meanwhile, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), under the Ministry of Education, launched a portal to streamline the recognition process of teacher education programmes for higher education institutes (HEI) and teacher education institutes (TEIs). The portal automates the entire recognition certificate process, including inviting applications for courses and issuing recognition orders to inspect the educational institution. The applications for the recently launched 4 Year Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP) will be processed on this portal.

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