Using Technology to Improve India's Social Protection System

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In a conversation moderated by Prakhar Misra, Shrayana Bhattacharya, Senior Economist, World Bank; Vrinda Bhandari, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court; Shilpa Kumar, Partner, Omidyar Network India discussed the promises and perils of using technology for welfare purposes, drawing upon India's past experiences and touching on the non-tech aspects that need to be baked in for this to be a successful enterprise.



Shrayana Bhattacharya

Shrayana Bhattacharya is a Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Practice based in New Delhi.  In her role, she leads the Bank's support to Ministry of Finance, GoI on social protection measures following COVID-19. She also leads a series of World Bank engagements to strengthen the capability of state governments to accelerate Direct Benefit Transfers and improve delivery of core social protection benefits. Prior to joining the World Bank, she has worked with ILO, SEWA and Centre for Policy Research on a range of issues in the areas of state capability, social protection and informality. She recently led the World Bank’s analysis of social protection in India with various academics and development practitioners, featured as the ‘Schemes to Systems’ series in the Indian Express in 2018. She completed her post-graduation in public administration and economics from Harvard University.

Vrinda Bhandari

Vrinda Bhandari is a Rhodes Scholar, who graduated from the University of Oxford with a double Masters in Law and Public Policy, and received her undergraduate law degree from NLS Bangalore. She is a litigating lawyer in Delhi, and specialises in the field of digital rights, technology, and privacy. She has been a part of the Aadhaar challenge, the restoration of internet in Jammu & Kashmir, a challenge to the constitutionality of the surveillance regime in India, the WhatsApp/Facebook dispute, Aarogya Setu, and most recently the consultation process adopted for the National Digital Health ID.


Shilpa Kumar

Shilpa Kumar provides overall leadership, including strategy and investments, across the areas of Digital ID, Governance, Citizen Engagement and Property Rights initiatives. She has spent more than three decades with the ICICI Bank group and served as MD & CEO of ICICI Securities, India’s largest retail broker & a leading investment bank in the country. Shilpa has held board positions in several organisations: ICICI Securities, ICICI Securities Prime Dealership, ICICI Home Finance, Clearing Corporation of India and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. She has also served on regulatory committees including SEBI’s Secondary Markets Advisory Committee, RBI’s Technical Advisory Committee and RBI’s Mohanty Committee on Monetary Policy. She has also held positions in industry bodies like FIMMDA, and the FICCI Capital Markets Committee besides serving on the Advisory Committees of the National Stock Exchange, Bombay Stock Exchange and National Securities Depository Ltd. Shilpa is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.



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