Introduction: The article discusses the social sector related policies of the new government and its impact in the last two years.
Topics: Indian Society, Governance, inclusive growth, Paper- I, II, and III
- In broad terms, two features distinguish social sector strategy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- It endeavours to make the existing programs more efficient by cutting leakages.
- It gives priority to empowerment over entitlement.
- Major Programmes by the government:
- Jan Dhan Programme for financial inclusion.
- Expanding the Aadhaar project to eliminate the ghost beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer.
- To empower rural households, the government has greatly accelerated the process of rural electrification and rural-road construction.
- In order to bring LPG cylinders to the households using solid biomass as cooking fuel, the government has launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjawal Yojana under which 5 crore BPL [below poverty line] households will be provided subsidized LPG cylinders over the next three years.
- In the Budget 2015-16, the government launched Atal Pension Scheme to provide a minimal insurance cover to workers in unorganized sector.
- The central government has introduced Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (insurance against accidental death) and Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (insurance against death).
- The Budget 2016-17 announced three major initiatives related to health:
- Insurance: Under the health insurance scheme, coverage for Rs. 1 lakh is provided against hospitalization expenditure. For senior citizens, there is additional coverage of Rs. 30,000.
- Jan Aushadhi scheme: Under Jan Aushadhi programme, the government will open 3,000 stores nationwide to provide low-cost generic drugs.
- Dialysis programme: With 2.2 lakh end stage renal disease patients added each year, the government has also announced a programme to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals.
- The government has introduced several measures towards improved implementation of MGNREGA:
- It has given priority to low-hanging fruits such as water ponds and de-silting of water ponds in asset creation.
- It has also taken a more liberal approach towards building of private assets such as houses, wells and toilets for the poor.
- The government has improved the convergence between MGNREGA works and schemes such as skill development, Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Housing for All and Swachh Bharat Mission.
- In the area of higher education, regulations have been liberalized to give greater flexibility to women to complete their M. Phil and Ph.D. degrees.
- Furthermore, the government has committed to turning 10 private and 10 public institutions into world-class teaching and research institutions.
- The government has also launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). The mission is not only critical for a healthy India but is also essential to creating a modern India. Among other things, it proposes to make India open defecation free by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Impact of some of the programmes:
- By May 2016, under Jan Dhan Yojana 21.74 crore accounts with Rs. 37,445 crore in deposits have been opened
- Benefits of Aadhaar linked subsidy distribution
- An estimated 3.5 crore multiple or ghost beneficiaries have been eliminated from the LPG rolls. During 2014-15 alone, this resulted in savings of Rs. 14,672 crore.
- In MGNREGA, similar weeding out of multiple or ghost beneficiaries resulted in a savings of Rs. 3,000 crore in 2015-16. This amount is a little below 10% of the total MGNREGA allocation.
- In PDS, an estimated Rs. 10,000 crore has been saved by elimination of 1.6 crore fake ration cards using the Aadhaar instrumentality.
- During its two years in office, the government has brought electricity to 7,654 villages compared with 5,189 villages in the preceding three years. Likewise, total rural road length constructed has been 36,340 and 36,450 kilometres during 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.
- By 9 May 2016, 9.4 Crore beneficiaries had enrolled under the Suraksha Bima Yojana and 3 crore under the Jeevan Jyoti scheme. Enrolment in Atal pension Yojana at 20 lakh was significantly lower.
- The government has made the reform of medical education in India a higher priority, assigning the task to a high-level committee.
- There is much else being done via housing for all, Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojana, livelihood mission and much else that touches people’s lives.
- The distinguishing feature of the policies under the present government is that they promise to sustain high growth in the GDP, revenues and social spending and deliver social services more efficiently and effectively.
Question: Government’s social sector strategy has aimed to make existing programmes more efficient, and give priority to empowerment over entitlement. In the light of this statement critically analyse any two social sector programmes of government.
- In the introduction highlight the need of social sector programmes and bring efficiency in them.
- Take any two programmes and write their positive and shortcomings.
- In conclusion, give some suggestion to improve these programmes.
Source: The Hindu