Grassroots penetration of schemes important for public welfare


Government policies, schemes and initiatives in India have a very poor image in society due to the high corruption, bad quality and low awareness, which is rather ironic as our Constitution and the political leadership aims for a welfare state and the best suitable mode is through these policies and their implementation.

In the last one decade, India has seen a substantial increase in people-state relations. This was achieved by developing the foundations of a welfare state by giving adequate importance to economic and social rights as well as by shifting the state and citizen dynamics heavily in favour of the latter.

Public welfare is an integral part of the Indian constitution and a salient feature in the Preamble and the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).

To attain these goals, India is taking progressive steps to justify its model of a welfare state. For achieving this ideal position, India needs to propagate economic planning and secure social, economic and political justice.

In the past, several governments have contributed to this concept in the best possible way. From the rights-based public welfare approach of the UPA to the NDA government, all regimes have launched their fair share of policies.

There are several areas, under rights and accountability, where the UPA government was focused on like, Right to Service acts (in various states), social audits in the MGNREGA, Right to Education (RTE), and the Right to Information (RTI). On the other hand, there are also examples of partially effective alteration- food distribution and education. The Food Security acts and RTE didn’t perform as some of the other schemes like MNREGS and RTI.

Now, the BJP-led NDA government is also contributing their share to develop a better welfare society. They have initiated yojanas  (schemes) such as- the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), a national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services in an affordable manner. This gave a sudden boost in the opening of bank accounts in India, especially in rural areas. By October 28, 2015, ₹19.02 crore bank accounts were opened, and around ₹25913.56 crore (US$3.9 billion) was deposited under the scheme.

Similarly, the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana aims to provide continuous power supply to rural India. Another scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, aims at developing and refinancing the undertakings which come under the definition of micro-units.

The dream project of the current government- Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a campaign to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country- is gaining popularity among the masses as well.

One of the major projects for rural social welfare is the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). It is a rural development programme largely concentrated on the betterment of the village community. This project aims at social and cultural development among individuals, along with the social mobilization of the village communities.

Even as so many schemes are being launched and executed by the present government, a question rises on their performance and whether they can bring a grass-root level change in the recent future.

The reasons behind the failure of the public welfare schemes by the Congress-led UPA, such as the National Social Assistance Scheme (NSAP), the Free Drug Scheme and the Chief Minister’s Food Security Scheme, was that there was no clarity about the outreach of these schemes to the intended beneficiaries. Lack of awareness among the people about such schemes and, most importantly, the unorganised cognisance of the initiatives led to its non-performance.

However, Narendra Modi is creating significant awareness on these schemes with his aggressive campaigning strategy and constant communications of progressive steps on social media as well as in political rallies. He is particularly helping the cause through his attempts to connect with rural or less developed regions through his radio programme Mann Ki Baat, where he discusses several government initiatives, scholarships, grants, and development programmes.

Based on the government’s aggressive awareness campaign, one can expect a better and extensive outreach of these arrangements. This rigorous advocacy of the schemes is the only way to implement them at the grassroots. Even as the NDA government is often criticized for their severe promotional skills, one needs to understand that the lack of cognizance can significantly hamper the social welfare of a nation.