Villagers hold up their job cards with no entries for the rural jobs programme in Tikamgarh. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Government’s Expenditure Plan Across Key Rural Schemes 

In Budget 2019-20, the Narendra Modi government revised the budget outlays for six key social schemes focussed on enhancing the welfare of farmers and the poor, in addition to announcing a new scheme aimed at direct cash transfers to farmers. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will cost the government Rs 20,000 crore in FY19 and Rs 75,000 crore in FY20. Apart from that allocations across three other schemes focused on rural India have been raised.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

MNREGA, or the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, was launched by the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2005 to provide unemployed citizens with a guaranteed income and jobs programme.

The programme provides at least 100 days of work with daily wages to every household in the countryside.

In 2018-19, around 26.08 crore workers were covered under the scheme but only 11.78 crore of them were “actively” participating. The government had allocated Rs 55,000 crore to the programme in the previous budget.

Poor implementation of the scheme, however, has left more than half of MNREGA beneficiaries unpaid. Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, pending payments, as a percentage of MGNREGA expenditure, rose from 39 percent to 56 percent, and the expenditures in each of the five years have exceeded allocations.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana

The Prime Minister’s Rural Road Development Scheme, introduced in 2000, aims to improve rural road infrastructure.

Over the course of nearly two decades, the PMGSY programme has constructed 575,388 kilometres of rural road ways, which encompasses a total of 145,708 road projects.

The implementation of the scheme, however, has remained below par, given that it needs central and state governments to coordinate specific project implementation.

The government set a target of constructing 58,000 km of rural roadways during the financial year 2018-19, but as of Jan. 31, 2019, only 24,811 km of roads were completed.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin

The PMAY-G, launched in November 2016, is essentially a restructured version of the Indira Awas Yojana which was intended to provide “housing for all” in rural India.

Allocation for the scheme has more than doubled since 2015-16 to nearly Rs 25,000 crore in 2017-18, but project completion rates have declined from the peak of 75 percent in 2016-17 to 56 percent in 2018-19.

However, number of constructed houses or flats and the number of beneficiaries under the scheme have been higher under this government’s tenure.

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.

State governments are responsible for providing timely data to the insurance companies through crop cutting experiments prior to every sowing season. The companies in turn use the CCE reports to underwrite the insurance policy for every farmer.

The insurance companies, however, have complained about delayed data and issues with its quality.

Insurance companies have delayed paying claims made by farmers which has led to fewer farmers enrolling into the program every season.

In the Kharif season of 2015, around 30.9 million farmers were registered with the PMFBY programme and a year layer the enrollment rate shot up by 30 per cent to 40.3 million, data from the agriculture ministry shows.

But over time farmers have lost interest and faith, with enrollments falling to 34.8 million by Kharif 2017 and subsequently to 33.3 million by Kharif 2018.

Ayushman Bharat Or The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

Attempting to create a universal health insurance scheme for the poor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi government announced the Ayushman Bharat or PMJAY scheme during his Independence Day speech in 2018.

The PMJAY, also dubbed as Modicare, essentially subsumed the previous central and state government sponsored health insurance scheme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.

Some governments have opted to continue with RSBY and the central government has said that patients will be extended the same benefits as under PMJAY.

The scheme aims to enrol 50 crore people and provide them with a health insurance policy that covers the medical and hospitalisation expenses, secondary and tertiary treatments or procedures.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Prime Minister has focussed on improving the standards of sanitation infrastructure and open defection. The Swachh Bharat Mission aims to accelerate the efforts to achieve sanitation coverage in the country.

Reducing pollution plays a significant role in the ten-point vision strategy for 2030, as announced by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal during his budget speech on Friday.