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Connecting Indian workers to government welfare benefits

  • Company
  • Workforce
  • India
  • 2020
  • Active

The challenge

India’s national and state governments have developed thousands of large-scale benefits and financial welfare support programs. However, these programs are not effectively reaching low-income rural communities—many of whom do not even know that they exist—leaving millions without the benefits designed for them. Without these benefits, temporary “informal” workers—or 90 percent of the country’s workforce—are left dangling without a safety net; it takes only one unexpected misfortune to plunge them deeper into poverty.

The innovation

Co-founded by Acumen Fellow Aniket Doegar, Haqdarshak informs low-income Indians about the government welfare benefits available to them: from disability pensions to crop insurance to education subsidies. Haqdarshak’s research team maintains an up-to-date database of information on over 6,000 government benefits programs, written in the local languages for all of India’s 29 states and seven union territories.

Beneficiaries learn about the schemes available to them through the company’s rural women sales agents, or
Haqdarshaks, who travel door-to-door in their communities to determine via a mobile app an individual’s eligibility for government benefits free of charge. Customers can then choose to apply for the benefits they qualify for on their own or pay their Haqdarshak a small fee to apply on their behalf.

In addition to one-on-one services, Haqdarshak also partners with large companies and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to provide this support to their informal workers.

The impact

Haqdarshak has helped channel $20 million in government benefit funding to 225,000 recipients to date.