Budget 2020: Muted Increase In Allocation To Key Rural Schemes
The government has not provided any large boost to schemes focused on creating jobs and providing services to rural India.
Despite concerns about a weak rural economy, the Indian government has not provided any large boost to schemes focused on creating jobs and providing services to that segment of the population.
Stretched government finances at a time when revenue collections are weak have resulted in little or no change in budget allocations for key schemes.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
The government has increased the allocation for the country’s flagship rural jobs guarantee programme marginally, amid concerns that high unemployment may increase the demand for jobs under the scheme.
The government allocated Rs 61,500 crore in 2020-21 towards MNREGA, compared to Rs 60,000 crore in the July 2019 Budget. It has, however, revised the estimated spend on the scheme in FY20 suggesting that there was an increase in demand for work this year.
The scheme provides at least 100 days of manual work with daily wages to every household in the countryside. In 2019-20, around 26.4 crore workers were eligible to gain work under the scheme but only 13.53 crore workers “actively” participated, according to the MNREGA website.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
The government will continue to push direct cash transfers to farmers under the PM-Kisan scheme.
A total of Rs 75,000 crore towards the scheme in 2020-21, in line with the budget estimates in its July 2019 Budget.
In FY20, the government managed to spend only Rs 54,370 crore due to teething troubles in implementing the scheme. As of January 2020, over Rs 49,900 crore had been disbursed to 8.8 crore beneficiaries out of a budget of Rs 87,000 crore meant for 14 crore farmers.
At first, it was envisaged that around 12 crore small and marginal farmers would be the primary beneficiaries of the scheme. However, the terms were revised in May 2019 to include all land holding farmers, subject to a specific criteria, taking the estimated count to 14.5 crore farmers. But according to a report by the Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research, the scheme suffers from delayed release of funds as well as mismatches in the beneficiaries’ accounts.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
To improve access to healthcare services across the country for those who cannot afford expensive health insurance premiums and private healthcare services, Prime Minister Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme during his Independence Day speech in 2018.
There are over 21,000 empanelled hospitals under the scheme till date, according to the PMJAY website.
For 2020-21, the government marginally increased its budgetary allocation to Rs 6,429 crore towards the scheme compared to Rs 6,556 crore in the July 2019 budget.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin
Launched in 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the PMAY-G scheme is one of two policy initiatives by the government in generating affordable housing . It was built on the Indira Awas Yojana and aims to provide “housing for all” in rural India.
The government has allocated Rs 10,000 crore towards the scheme in its budget for 2020-21, whereas it did not allocate funds to the same, in its interim budget last year.
According to the PMAY-G website, over 93.3 lakh homes have been constructed under the PMAY-G and IAY schemes till date. Of which 87.86 lakh homes were constructed between 2016-17 and 2019-20. A total 1.39 crore homes have been sanctioned to be constructed under the scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
In January 2016, the government introduced the PMFBY programme to provide farmers with a safety net against any financial hardship they could face as a result of natural calamities, volatile market prices and other issues.
The government has allocated Rs 21,175 crore towards the scheme in its budget for 2020-21 compared to Rs 14,000 crore in its July 2019 budget.
While the scheme has been helpful to many farmers, in its four years, it has seen massive attrition.
When the scheme was launched during the Kharif season of 2015, around 30.9 million people enrolled and a year later the went enrollment rate shot up by 30 percent to 40.3 million, data from the agriculture ministry shows.
But as of the Kharif season for 2019, there were only 18.3 million farmers registered with the scheme.