New India Manifesto – Chapter 15: Wallet Payment Exchange System (WPES)
WPES is a centralised digital platform that connects and exchanges financial information about all public institutions and their beneficiaries in India. WPES distributes benefits and welfare schemes as an intermediary to citizens and also maintains accounts for all government benefits transferred to the public via external platforms. The total amount of all the benefits an individual receives directly and from external sources can be seen in the wallet. It includes only personal benefits received by the citizens and not benefits received by the business community, especially in GST transactions.
Why is WPES Essential?
When government directly distributes benefits via WPES, the structural framework of public institutions undergoes a severe change. However, the change is equally beneficial for the beneficiary and the provider of benefits.
WPES-based distribution can be used to understand each institution’s performance separately, which can help people gain more insight into cost cutting, increasing employer efficiency and maximising revenue. In addition, the government can track the various problems faced by different sections and attempt to fix those issues by studying the usage of WPES.
WPES is a constant reminder of national commitment and national spirit. The loyalty of citizens to the nation will increase as each citizen is benefitted from the state.
All the central, state and local government distribution channels can be integrated and connected easily via this platform. It is a general distribution mode for all tiers of government.
WPES can help identify beneficiaries who are repeatedly benefitting and those who have not benefitted from the system.
WPES aims to reduce direct cash-based benefits, thereby increasing the number of transactions and creating more employment in the nation.
Benefits accrued under WPES should be returned in case of giving up citizenship. This will ensure that benefit takers will not give up Indian citizenship. If a student receives free public education worth 5 lakh and when the person gives up citizenship, the person has abused the system. When one individual receives the benefits, another person is denied it. Individuals who studied in private schools and colleges and pursued a career abroad via private funds should be respected as they did not take any government benefits. So, taking back the free benefits from people who abused the system is the right thing to do.
Most benefits directly distributed via WPES are provided irrespective of religion, caste, and ethnicity, which is new to India. People are grouped as one regarding distribution in food banks, public education, and healthcare. The new areas added in WPES are not based on the reservation system, as everyone benefits simultaneously.
WPES system helps in accounting for government services based on the actual value at which it is provided.
It can be used to provide rewards for participating in government initiatives, thereby promoting such initiatives.
Free utility bill payment, food and medical services for the 14-crore 60+ population can cost less than 4 lakh crores. Paying high pensions to a few in terms of money transfer can be stopped and replaced by a system that benefits the 14 crore older adults. When the nation becomes wealthier enough to allocate funds, many additional benefits can be allocated to older adults via WPES, such as free leisure trips and visits to holy places within India.
Exclusion in WPES
- No benefits private individuals provide to another individual will be recorded under WPES.
- There will be no direct cash transactions by the government to the public outside WPES, and all payments will be processed via WPES. Regarding government bank transfers outside WPES to the public, the transfer data is marked under WPES.
- A foreigner is not eligible to be part of WPES.
Create a website, app and software to create a Wallet Payment Exchange System. National, state and local governments are the providers of benefits via WPES. If the internet is unavailable for a short duration, the essential services should not be stopped; offline software features will ensure that. EAC integration centres distributing food bank using WPES should be provided with this offline feature.
Three English letter codes before an auto-generated 14-digit WPES number from the Aadhar number of a person should be allotted for each service received under WPES. For example, the Aadhar number of Shiva is 9988 9998 3879. The autogenerated number under WPES would be 4534 3432 3432 34. If Shiva is a senior citizen, the person is eligible for certain age-based benefits. So a four-letter code SEN will be added to the autogenerated number. It would be SEN A 4534 3432 3432 34. SEN is to represent senior citizens, whereas A is to represent in case any subsections under a category. If the same person gets agricultural benefits, the code would be AGR A 4534 3432 3432 34. So the same person would have different letter codes based on different areas of benefits they receive. However, the core number remains the same number. A single-letter code will be added at the end of the code. It is to classify marked and redeemable benefits. So, some examples of final codes will be AGR A 4534 3432 3432 34 IM/EM and AGR A 4534 3432 3432 34 R, where IM/EM represents marked benefits, and R represents redeemable benefits.
The total amount a person receives will be displayed to someone who logs into their account. Government can use these numbers to calculate the growth of the nation.
Different Rates and The Same Rates for Benefits
Consider the following possibility. For type A service, different rates will be applicable between different states and sometimes different rates within a state. However, the exact rate will be applicable all over India for type B services. So here, the distribution amount is different or the same according to the service provided. When redeemable benefits are added to a person’s account, factors such as the living cost of the region will be analysed for some services.
A Category Services
For the education sector, the cost of running different schools is different within a state. For food bank allocation, the cost of living differs in Bihar and Delhi. So, the amount allocated varies for each person from state to state and within the state.
B Category Services
0.5 per cent flat cashback for farmers all over India transacting via National Employment System and EAC integration centres in employing farm labourers. So, the flat per cent is the same all over India and does not change for a particular state.
Categorisation of Benefits
A. Redeemable Benefits
Government allots a particular amount under a specific domain or category for a person. It is redeemable and remains unused as long as not redeemed. Redeemable benefits are excluded from various growth-related statistical analyses and only after it is considered after being converted to marked benefits. Redeemable Benefits cannot be converted to any other form besides the mentioned purpose. The allotted amount can be redeemed by the person or the person authorised by the amount holder.
B. Marked benefits
It includes Internal and External marked benefits (IE/EM). Internal marked benefits include all redeemed amounts from redeemable benefits. External marked benefits involve all benefits accrued by a person using an external system. Consider the following example: the government provides a subsidy for purchasing agricultural machineries via an external website. A farmer buys a grass cutter for 15,000 using that website. Under the farmer’s SMAM scheme, the farmer receives 7500 as a subsidy for the purchase one month after verification. When 7500 is credited to the farmer, it will be marked in WPES external marked benefits. How much a country has spent for a citizen individually is understood by analysing the marked benefits.
State and Centre
The local government, state government and central government in India should equally work for the success of WPES. IT and significant infrastructure will be built and maintained by the centre. However, ground-level implementation will be ensured by state agencies.
Major Domains of WPES
The major domains in which WPES should be implemented
A. National Food Bank of India
WPES is the pillar of the food bank, and the implementation model is mentioned in the National Food Bank of India section.
Some of the major categories where farmers are provided benefits via WPES include
B1. Fertiliser Subsidy
Imported fertilisers subsidy should be provided via WPES. As the farmer’s income increase, the subsidy amount should be gradually reduced for imported fertilisers. Indian-made alternative fertilisers should be provided instead of imported fertilisers at low prices.
An alternative model can also be applied to imported fertilisers. The farmer will list the total area of crops to EAC or other inspection agencies via EAC. The agencies will decide the required fertiliser for that land in a year. So the subsidy will be available for each fertiliser as mentioned by the agency. One gram after that amount should be purchased at the market rate. This subsidy should be provided only to farmers with up to 10 hectares of land. In this model, the fertiliser is generally sold at market price, and farmers buy at a special discounted price using WPES.
B2. Machinery Subsidy
Farmer machines subsidy will be distributed via WPES.
B3. Storage Subsidy
All benefits transferred to farmers using cold storage and other large storage facilities will be distributed via WPES.
B4. Farmer-Farm Labourer Transaction Cashback
As a reward for transacting via the EAC Integration centre and National Employment System, farmers should get cashback. The cashback can be redeemed via general stores.
B5. Courier Subsidy
Listing courier subsidy provided for farmers who are selling via EAC Integration Centres.
B6. Loan Interest Subvention
Current KCC account benefits received by farmers in India should be continued. However, it should be added under external marked benefits.
B7. Tax Filing Grant
The grant is credited to farmers using the EAC Integration Centre to sell crops and the national employment system for hiring labourers. Even though farmer income is tax-free, tax filing should be compulsory all over India. The grant is the average amount charged by income tax filing institutions in India. The government will ensure that private IT filing institutions will file it for farmers for that average amount.
B8. Crop Insurance Grant
A particular amount, such as 3000, can be provided to farmers as a crop insurance grant. The farmer can redeem the amount by paying 1000 rupees additional amount to get the crop area of 1 acre insured under the crop insurance scheme. So, the total insurance for 1 acre is 4000, and the government is paying 3000 rupees.
The various subsidies do not mean that everything should be provided for free for farmers under WPES. Government should ensure farmers’ welfare and help them to get maximum value for their products. As a result, the income and standard of living of farmers should increase substantially. Provide more extensive benefits at the beginning, and once farmers can fetch reasonable prices for their products, the subsidy amounts can be reduced. To achieve digitalisation and mechanisation of the farmers and farming sector, benefits like these must be provided to farmers.
C. National Education System
The current public education system requires a total overhaul to make it more student-oriented. Instead of paying the school and faculty, the government will pay the students via WPES, and public schools will redeem it. The funds each student receive vary according to urban schools and rural schools. The salary of highly paid teachers will reduce, and the salary of lowly paid teachers will increase under this system. The teachers will be accountable to students as students are paying the amount. It does not mean that students can dictate what teachers do. All of them will have their code of conduct, and if there are repeated violations, there will be consequences for the teacher and the students. For example, if a student repeatedly engages in brawls in school, uses drugs and harms other students, the student funds will be cut permanently. If a teacher does not tutor properly and is disapproved by all students in school, such a tutor can be terminated.
A particular fund is required in a year for a school to run. Students of each class will be allotted a specific amount based on previously provided salaries of teachers and running expenses of the school. The fund will be jointly accessible by parents and school management on behalf of their children. Once a student is admitted to a school and applies for funds via school, a nation-level authority will authorise the funds to the WPES account of the student after consulting respective state governments. The school can withdraw funds via a provided website directly to its main account via WPES.
The amount provided to students will be 12 months of school running costs. Each student will pay the amount in advance via WPES in a year.
The school board will manage the school fund, and all expenses will be publicly posted on the school notice board and provided to each student as a biannual report to ensure that corruption is eliminated.
Every school will have a school board consisting of government-appointed member, parent representatives, teaching and non-teaching staff. The elected school body of students will also have recommendary powers to the school board.
Teacher-Student disputes can be reduced by ensuring strict implementation of rules and regulations such as a code of conduct. So parents cannot ask for leniency for a particular student as the code of conduct and hierarchical structure will be effectively implemented. In addition, all schools and classrooms will have CCTV, which will ensure that there is an effective regulatory mechanism.
If students leave the school during a year, it will reduce the paycheck of the tutor. Since all students must be equally treated as all are paying the tutor, there will be minimal partiality towards students. Taking poor students for granted based on their living conditions will change forever. This will ensure teachers’ accountability, like CBSE private schools, which provide paid education.
Most students may want to replace the tutor due to poor quality teaching or any other reason. It can be done by an external board that evaluates teachers by various parameters. The evaluation will be done immediately if there are massive complaints from parents against a tutor. If teachers are discriminated against by parents based on caste, parents can be sued for discrimination and fined a significant amount. The discrimination based on caste, religion and economic status will reduce as the tutors and school management are forced to work for the benefit of all students. Students’ parents can also monitor the funds allocated for maintenance and non-teaching staff as it is included in students’ payments, thereby reducing corruption in spending money.
Consider the following example
Consider a government school where teachers are paid between 30,000 and 1,00,000 monthly. Even though different teachers have different pay scales according to experience or temporary status, consider that the entire teaching staff in a school where there is only 11th and 12th standard are getting a combined salary of 10 lakh per month. The salary of the whole non-teaching staff per month is 2 lakh, and other expenses such as maintenance and utility bills include 3 lakh per month. So the total expenditure is 15 lakh per month.
Consider 50 students in each class with a total strength of 100 for this school. Now 15,000 rupees will be allocated to each student per month. If a student is unsatisfied with a teacher, the school will attempt to resolve the issue. If the parent holds the same opinion about leaving school, there will be consequences. If the student leaves and joins another school, all the tutors’ salaries must be cut based on the losing student’s fees. If there is cost-cutting by the government, the board will cut the wages of teachers who get high salaries. For example, if the combined salary allocated to teachers is reduced to 9 lakh per month from 10 lakh, the salary of teachers earning nearly 1 lakh per month will be cut to 80,000 or below. There will be a basic salary, and the school board cannot reduce the basic pay of the lowest-earning employee in the name of cost-cutting.
There will be general guidelines for parents, students and tutors. For example, taking disciplinary action against a student for misbehaviour or engaging in a brawl will not be considered a teacher taking revenge. In addition, guidelines are provided to ensure that each is expected to work within the provided space and not cross the limits.
D. National Healthcare System
It is explained in the NHS section about the integration of WPES with NHS.
E. Senior Citizen Benefits
When pension benefits are withdrawn, it aims to support all individuals above 60 years equally and is not meant to stop supporting senior citizens. Government can increase or decrease the benefits to senior citizens based on government revenues. However, cash-based direct transfer benefits will be stopped, and WPES should be the only way to distribute such benefits. It will ensure their family members do not abuse the system and keep the money to themselves. Additionally, only increasing government-monitored formal transactions via different mediums can sustain the economy in the long run. Government can pay senior citizens’ utility bills for free using WPES as part of senior citizen benefits.
F. Essential Utility Concession System
There should be a list of items that comes under essential utilities, such as electricity, water and gas. An essential utility concession system can provide specific benefits for vulnerable sections and senior citizens. A wallet balance will be credited to a particular person for a specific purpose. For example, a senior citizen is credited 400 rupees as an electricity concession. The monthly electricity bill of a senior citizen is 800 rupees. So, this concession can be redeemed, and the senior citizen only pays 400 rupees. If the senior citizen stays alone and the children are not with their parents, the full amount with an upper cap limit can be paid. It cannot be used to promote extravagant lifestyles and waste electricity without paying. That is why there should be payment above a particular number of units.
G. National Housing System
Shelter homes and other facilities are meant to support poor and vulnerable poverty. Till the person is employed, such benefits should be provided for free. During this free period, the shelter manager will request approval of a homeless person as requested by an external agency to stay at the facility, and a department under the national housing system will approve the request. Once the request is approved, a fund will be credited to the person’s WPES account and redeemed at the shelter facility. Shelter facilities do not directly accommodate people, and other agencies will recommend the person to that facility. For example, a homeless person is asked to move to the facility by the local police.
The facility is not a motel or hotel to accommodate everyone for free. It is built specifically to support a particular set of people. The free beneficiaries include women affected by domestic violence, a temporary facility for children whose relatives desert after their parent’s death, and homeless people. It is meant to support people who fall under similar categories, not the general public. Once the homeless person is allotted a job under National Employment System, they have to pay for staying for some more weeks and within a few weeks, they have to shift to another place.
If there are no or minimal temporary guests from vulnerable sections at shelter homes, a portion of the facility can be opened to the public for daily paid room rent services. WPES will not be used in this case; the shelter manager collects payment digitally. However, the records of the person should be maintained digitally. However, there will be additional restrictions in such shelter facilities, such as a ban on the consumption of alcohol and smoking on the premises. Only a daily payment option should be allowed, and if many vulnerable people require temporary shelter, the paid services will not be available to the public.
H. National Employment System
When senior citizens are allotted jobs under NES, they avail many benefits, such as lesser working hours and other perks. For example, consider a situation where a 70-year-old is engaged in canal cleaning work for 8 hours. The payment system includes hourly pay of 40 rupees, and a redeemable benefit worth 40 rupees can be provided additionally via WPES general store after completing 8 hours.
I. Farm Labourers and Construction Labourers
If they are integrated with NES, then they should receive additional benefits.
Loss of workday insurance: If a person is associated with NES for one year, they should be eligible for a free loss of workday insurance from the next year. People are eligible for free hospitalisation under the national healthcare system. Besides that, they will also get a small amount that supports the workdays they lost due to an accident or hospitalisation. The amount can be claimed via the essential utility concession system or general store.
Cashback: Farm labourers can be provided 0.5 per cent of wages received during work as cashback for enrolling and collecting salaries via this system. This cashback can be redeemed via general stores or via essential utilities.
J. General Store
There should be a list of food items and other general items that can be purchased at specific locations to redeem benefits under WPES. Senior citizens can be allotted a particular monthly amount, such as 1000 rupees, for using it at general stores. It means that if there are 14 crore people above 60 years, all will be eligible to get 1000 rupees per month, unlike the current pension system, which discriminates. Every year, 1,68,000+ crore will be distributed to senior citizens irrespective of religion, caste, previous occupation, etc. Poor and rich alike are eligible for this benefit, and redeeming it is the personal choice of the concerned individual. Existing Public Distribution centres, such as ration shops, can be used to sell these items. If some farm products are fetching low prices, distribute those products at such places. Processed items from farm products, such as mango juice, can also be distributed at such shops.
None of the products are distributed at lower price at these places like it was earlier done in ration shops. Instead, the entire value, including profit, is charged for every product sold here. For example, a ration shop may distribute rice for 5 rupees per kg under an earlier system. But under this system, the ration shop will charge 40 rupees for one kg of rice. The price includes the profit of the ration shop owner and the market price of rice. Processed food products manufactured by Indian-owned companies (100% Indian ownership) should only be distributed via stores. Many Indian non-food items, such as soaps, can be included in groceries and should be added selectively. Therefore, there should be careful planning in adding and updating the list of items.
K. Interest benefit marking
The bank interest that is borne by the government for the poor for the national housing system and similar schemes by reducing the interest rate of loans needs to be marked under WPES as a separate category. This is to make them realise that the government is spending for the welfare of each individual in the state.
L. NEEIS distribution
Sports scholarships and benefits students and the public receive under NEEIS should be marked in the WPES wallet.
WPES Returning Payment
Wealthy citizens can clear all benefits received via WPES after two years of the inception of this WPES system by paying back the total amount to the state. In addition, such citizens will be rewarded with national-level recognition by the highest level of functionaries, such as ministers. This can also help the government raise money for the WPES system.
Special Note: This is the fifteenth chapter of the book New India Manifesto by Blessen T. Sam. The concepts introduced in this book are unique, and referencing the book and the author is appreciated. Support the hard work of the author to modernise India by purchasing a print copy of the book from Amazon or Flipkart.