[Answered] How does the prioritization of technology over human-centric solutions affect the objectives of Social welfare schemes? Propose a balanced approach that harmonizes technological advancements with the scheme’s core objectives of social security and inclusion.

Introduction: Contextual Introduction

Body: Effect on objectives of welfare schemes through prioritization of technology

Conclusion: Way forward

The prioritization of technology over human-centric solutions in social welfare schemes can have several implications for the objectives of social welfare schemes like MGNREGS. Research shows that there are more than 26 crore workers registered with MGNREGS. Of them, as many as 5.2 crore workers were deleted from the database in 2022-23.

Prioritizing Technology in Social Welfare

  • Loss of Human Connection: Relying too much on technology may cause services to become less personalized and effective. This is because it may result in a loss of human connection.
  • Marginalized Group Exclusion: Technology-driven solutions may unintentionally leave out marginalized groups that are unable to use or do not have access to them. This may exacerbate current disparities and defeat the objective of social inclusion.
  • Digital Divide: Giving technology priority may make it worse, benefiting wealthy and urban populations disproportionately at the expense of marginalized and rural areas. The equal distribution of social welfare benefits is hampered by this.
  • Data security and privacy concerns: To implement technology-driven solutions, personal data must frequently be collected and processed. This raises privacy and data security concerns, particularly for vulnerable populations that could be the target of exploitation or spying.

Finding a Balanced Approach

  • Technology as a Tool: Rather than taking the role of human connection and service delivery, technology should be seen as an enhancement to both. Give priority to multilingual support, offline access choices, and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Human Expertise at the Core: For individualized care, handling complicated needs, and fostering beneficiary trust, social workers, case managers, and community outreach programs continue to be essential.
  • Technology for Accessibility: By utilizing technology, accessibility can be increased. Make use of resources designed with those with impairments in mind, like screen readers, voice commands, and translated content.
  • Information with Security Measures: Establish strict guidelines for data protection and make sure that data is collected and used transparently. Give beneficiaries the power to manage their data and give informed consent a top priority.

Conclusion

We can use technology to close rather than expand the divide by taking a human-in-the-loop approach. In the end, technology should improve user experience and empower social workers, resulting in a social safety net that is more inclusive and effective.

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