SPRF SCHEME TRACKER
SPRF's scheme tracker seeks to monitor and track the implementation and progress of various government schemes. The tracker currently looks at the following schemes:
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
As part of the Ayushman Bharat Programme, the National Health Protection Scheme aims to provide insurance coverage of up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries). This will be the world’s largest government-funded health care programme. Since the launch of the scheme on the 23rd of September, 2018, 32,11,960 beneficiaries have been admitted.
Given the scale of implementation, there are concerns about the amount of investment required and if it is sustainable. It is also crucial to address the fact that certain states are yet to accept the scheme, raising questions about the program‘s nationwide implementation.
Further, successful execution of the scheme depends on the private sector, which has been cautious in its participation owing to the low cost of health packages being offered which does not guarantee profits. In this context, many have argued that the focus of the government should go back to upgrading and expanding the public healthcare infrastructure.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana
Ministry of Rural Development
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, or DDU-GKY, launched on the 25th of September, 2014 aims to transform about 5.5 crore rural poor youth between the ages of 15 and 35 years, currently at the bottom of the pyramid, into an economically independent and globally relevant workforce to realise our demographic dividend.
The Scheme is currently falling short of its target to ensure placement of 70% of the candidates enrolled in training by several percentage points. Moving beyond numbers, an important component of rural skill training is to ensure that it is sustainable in nature. To foster job creation and increase employability, alongside closing the skill gap, reforms in the education sector, which include introducing vocation training, are crucial. A real-time performance tracker post placement as well as on-the-job training, particularly in the informal sector, is necessary.
Digital India – BharatNet
Ministry of Electronics & IT
BharatNet, the government’s flagship programme under Digital India, aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats in the country to boost rural connectivity and transform India into a digitally empowered society.
Apart from implementation delays, issues within the guiding principles of the scheme have been highlighted.
BharatNet does not ensure last-mile connectivity, nor is functional utilisation of the internet infrastructure guaranteed. Criteria of speed and quality of connection, which is crucial to utilise online services, remains excluded from the scheme. Addressing the high level of digital illiteracy, as well as making digital services available in local languages, will also be central to realising the dream of a digital India.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana
Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers
The scheme, launched on the 21st of July, 2015, aims to make quality generic medicines available at affordable prices to all through Jan Aushadhi Stores.
While all yearly targets of the number of stores to be opened have been met, issues remain with respect to procurement and distribution. Inventory of the medicines to be distributed by the public sector is inefficiently maintained. Further, many doctors do not prescribe the generic medicines which are sold at JASs, in the context of huge pricing differences between generic and branded medicines. Several batches of medicines have also been reported to fail quality tests. The mandate of the scheme does not include ensuring the quality of medicines and often does not integrate a monitoring mechanism into the supply chain.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
Ministry of Finance
Launched on the 28th of August, 2014, the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, or PMJDY, under the National Mission for Financial Inclusion, aimed to ensure universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household in the next four years. The Government, in 2018, extended the program with a focus on opening accounts for every adult. While 80% of the adult Indian population now holds a bank account, issues have emanated from the manner of implementation of the scheme and its single-target based approach.
Jan Dhan accounts are plagued with the problem of zero balance and dormancy. 48% of the accounts opened remain inactive, a percentage that is the highest in the world. Thus, opening a bank account, in itself, does not ensure that users will conduct formal financial transactions regularly. The government needs to expand access to formal credit for the poor and undertake labour reforms in the informal economy, among other measures, to achieve genuine financial inclusion.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), launched on the 20th of March, 2015, aims to impart industry-relevant skill training to an estimated 10 million youth. The progress of the scheme has been dismal owing to multiple factors, including, but not limited to, a countrywide shortage of skilling infrastructure and qualified skill trainers. It has also been observed that setting a huge target has affected the quality of training, and the process of assessment remains arbitrary.
Any skilling initiative in a developing country will be incomplete without the inclusion of new-age skills in its curricula, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, and Robotics. The vision of the scheme needs to expand to include adequate preparedness for automation of jobs, which is inevitable in the coming years.
Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana
Ministry of Finance
Under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, or PMMY, launched on the 8th of April, 2015, aims to provide loans up to 10 lakh to non-corporate, non- farm micro and small enterprises. While the scheme has performed exceptionally well in terms of meeting its yearly lending targets, there are several concerns around the nature of its formulation, as well as its implementation.
It has been argued that, as opposed to forcing lending targets on banks, they should instead be provided with an enabling environment to support small businesses. Forced banking burdens the lenders as well as the government exchequer. Due to inadequate refinancing support, the public sector banks disbursing MUDRA loans will have to be recapitalised using tax money.
Given that bad loans under the scheme have increased by over 50% in the last financial year, it might be time to reconsider if full-scale commercial banks are the right institutional vehicles to provide MUDRA loans. Managing small-ticket loans demands very specific expertise, making Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), cooperative banks, and Small Finance Banks more suited to implement the scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin
Ministry of Rural Development
Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin, launched on the 20th of November, 2016, aims to provide an environmentally secure pucca house to every rural household by 2020. The first phase targeted to complete one crore houses by March 2019.
While considerable progress has been made in terms of realising the vision of 'Housing For All' in rural areas, problems such as fund shortages and poor quality of construction continue to exist. States have also been struggling to enrol the targeted number of beneficiaries.
In the processes of implementation of the scheme, large scale convergence with programs such as Skill India, Saubhagya, Ujjwala Yojana, Digital India, Make in India, and PM Jan Dhan Yojana is of primary importance. Ensuring usage of local materials, and skill training of rural masons to undertake the construction work will also be ideal.
Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) aims to provide maternity benefits to all Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers, except those in regular employment with the Central Government, State Government, or a Public Sector Undertaking. The scheme ensures partial wage loss compensation, as well as cash incentives for improved health-seeking behaviour.
The scheme has faced regular criticism for being exclusionary in terms of the mandated eligibility criteria, impeding universal access to the benefits. The scheme is restricted to the birth of the first living child, even though the Total Fertility Rate of India stands at 2.33. Further, the scheme does not accommodate women suffering from the complexities of miscarriages, nor the 30% of women who are underage and become pregnant.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, launched on the 10th of March, 2016, aims to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line households, in order to address health hazards associated with cooking using unclean fossil fuels.
While the number of LPG connections across India has increased since the scheme was launched, it is important to track the usage of gas cylinders simultaneously to measure if households have been discouraged from using firewood.
The nature of implementation of the scheme also does not guarantee sustainable universal coverage of cooking gas, as people with new connections are not buying refilled cylinders after their first one (provided for free) runs out, given the price of refilling is high. Therefore, the infrastructure for distributing, as well as refilling, cylinders needs to be enhanced.
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – SAUBHAGYA
Ministry of Power
SAUBHAGYA, launched on the 11th of October, 2017, aims to achieve universal household electrification by ensuring last-mile connectivity in both rural and urban India.
Under the scheme, a village is considered electrified if 10% of its households are connected to the power grid. However, merely having the distribution infrastructure in place does not ensure functionality and quality of connection. Problems such as frequent power cuts and voltage fluctuations remain outside the scope of the scheme.
The issue of providing access to electricity at affordable rates also remains unaddressed. Installation of meters to measure units of consumption is necessary to ensure that consumers are not forced to pay unfairly fixed monthly rates, which drives poorer sections of the population to steal electricity.
Setu Bharatam Yojana
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
The Setu Bharatam programme, launched on the 4th of March, 2016, aims to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings by constructing bridges by the end of 2019 to prevent accidents and loss of lives. As per latest reports, none of the construction undertaken under the scheme is complete.
There are several explanations for the above. The high cost of land for the construction of railway bridges is mandated to be borne by state governments causing budgetary stress. The pre-requisite formalities under the scheme such as the closing of the level crossings are also expensive exercises further slowing down the scheme.
Going forward, the scheme needs to tackle the problem of poor maintenance of road approaches to railway bridges and level crossings, which contributes to a number of accidents. Lack of safety statistics about railway-related accidents, as well as a general lack of safety awareness culture and road user education in India, are overarching issues which also need to be addressed.
Stand Up India
Ministry of Finance
The Stand Up India scheme, launched on the 5th of April, 2016, aims to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities and omen, who form the underserved sectors of the population in terms of financial inclusion, by facilitating bank loans.
The underwhelming performance of the scheme is due to multiple overlapping problems, including a serious lack of quality business proposals. The onus of resolving this is on the banks and other traditional lenders, which need to take the initiative of guiding first-time entrepreneurs into developing viable business models. It might also be helpful to expand the scope of the scheme to include funding of existing businesses that face credit shortage as well as lower the loan threshold. Deep-seated prejudice against tribal and Dalit entrepreneurs, which translates into a lack of confidence in their repayment capacity, also remains an issue.
Street Lighting National Programme
Ministry of Power
Street Lighting National Programme or SLNP, launched on the 5th of January, 2015, promotes the use of energy-efficient light-emitting diodes for street lighting in municipal areas by the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). To better understand the performance of the scheme, it is crucial to look at the challenges faced by the Energy Efficiency industry in India, which has the potential to supplement the government’s efforts.
Apart from a general lack of awareness about the benefits of energy-efficient products, there is limited availability of financing for EE projects. It is important to put into place evaluation mechanisms to track financial returns of EE projects, as well as build the capacity of energy efficiency service providers in India, in particular, technical and risk management skills.
Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin
Ministry of Jal Shakti
The Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin aims to achieve universal sanitation coverage. Since its launch on the 2nd of October, 2014, over 9.8 crore household toilets have been built. However, many of those who own a latrine continue to defecate in the open owing to deeply entrenched beliefs about caste, and notions of purity and pollution.
Rather than trying to enforce positive behavioural changes, local officials have been reported to use coercive methods such as fines and threats of denial of benefits, to force construction of latrines. Toilet construction in most cases is undertaken by village contractors on subsidy, leading to high levels of corruption and extremely poor quality of construction. Unless durable toilet infrastructure is built and maintained, the ODF status might not be sustainable beyond a few years.
Swachh Bharat Mission - Urban
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban, launched on the 2nd of October, 2014, aims to achieve 100% open defecation free (ODF) status and ensure scientific solid waste management in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the country. While exceptional progress in terms of ULBs achieving ODF status has been recorded, certain issues remain.
It has been observed that a significant level of disparity exists between the urban and rural components of the Swachh Bharat Mission, in terms of funding support from the central government. Urban India lacks construction space to build sanitation infrastructure, owing to the informal nature of planning of settlements. Upgradation of sewage systems and expanding piped water supply, crucial components of ensuring swachhata, are daunting tasks for under-funded municipalities. In this context, it can be concluded that the severity of the unique sanitation challenges faced in the urban areas is underestimated.
Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana - UDAY
Ministry of Power
Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana or UDAY, launched on the 5th of November, 2015, aims for the sustainable revival of financially stressed Power Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) which are unable to supply power at affordable rates. For DISCOMs to be eligible to receive government support under UDAY to clear their debts, they need to reduce their average losses to under 15%. However, by the end of the financial year of 2018-2019, only a handful of states were successful in achieving this target.
To achieve optimum functioning of DISCOMs, timely enforcement of fuel purchase and power supply agreements needs to be ensured alongside securing environmental approvals in advance. Going beyond the performance of DISCOMs, to realise the aim of '24x7 Power For All', the scheme needs to address wider problems weighing down the power sector, such as power theft, ineffective electricity billing procedures, and faulty measurements of power consumption, among others.
Note: Data unavailable for 4 participating states and UTs
Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All - UJALA
Ministry of Power
UJALA, the National LED programme, launched in January of 2015, aims to promote energy efficiency in the country by facilitating the use of LED lights by residential users. While the scheme should be applauded for falling in line with India’s carbon reduction commitments, certain loopholes have been noticed in the formulation of the scheme.
Under the scheme, a distribution limit of 10 LED bulbs per household has been set without any rationale being provided for the same. This has led to beneficiaries storing the LED bulbs for future use or using them in small rooms such as balconies or bathrooms, where the amount of electricity that can be conserved is considerably lower. In many cases, due to the lack of an efficient monitoring and evaluation framework, UJALA LEDs have ended up with unintended beneficiaries. The implementation of the scheme has also been unenthusiastic in states that are not ruled by the political party at the centre.