Orissa is one of the most backward states in India in terms of socio economic indicators.
As the voice to fight corruption through Lokpal is raised from various quarters, there are initiatives being taken by certain states to fight corruption through systemic change by changing the work flow whereby the possibility of corruption itself is minimized.
One such initiative that is being launched in Orissa is a scheme for reducing child mortality and welfare of mothers. It is termed Mamata and is based on the idea of direct cash transfer to the right persons by minimizing the possibility of the discretion of the middle men to swindle the money midway. The scheme would involve creation of bank accounts (enabled by internet) for the beneficiaries and then a certain sum of money would be directly transferred to the account which would be aimed at benefitting the lady and the expected child towards a healthy future.
There is a risk of not using the money for which the government is giving it out and it can actually be dealt with by giving vouchers instead. There are international studies and experiments done to understand the dynamics of cash transfer and its impact on the problem to which it is being directed.
The good part about the inclination of the state government (Biju Janata Dal) to ensure its sound implementation is the fact that Orissa is heading for its Panchayat polls in 2012. Thus as the country heads in a direction where sound politics gets neatly intertwined with good governance, it surely portends a good future.
As they say it, CSR works best when the business interest of the corporate entity is aligned to the cause that it espouses. Otherwise, it ends up being a green wash at best.
Using technology to fight corruption looks like an easier bet than trying to use ways of changing ossified minds who cannot see anything beyond their own petty interest.
I am optimistic of the UID project- Aadhaar exactly for the above reasons.