Data Focus

Roti, kapda, makaan remain essence of Centre’s rural schemes

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on February 05, 2021

A file picture of a rural scene near Kochi.   -  BusinessLine

Take up nearly 70% of expenditure in 6 key development programmes

The basic needs of roti, kapda and makaan (food, clothing and housing) remain a major concern for the majority of villages in India. Not surprisingly, of the total expenditure on six major schemes executed by the Ministry of Rural Development over the past six years (FY16 to FY21, up to December 2020), 69 per cent went toward providing the basic needs of livelihood and shelter.

Per Census statistics, the rural population in India stands at 833 million, constituting almost 68 per cent of the total. Rural India’s needs continue to revolve around employment, housing and food.

More than half of the expenditure (53 per cent) during these six years has been on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme (MGNREGA). The scheme provides at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Then comes the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G), where the government has spent 16 per cent (₹1,04,187.79 crore) of the total expenditure. The scheme aims at the construction of 2.95 crore houses by 2022. The PM Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and National Social Assistance programme have utilised about 13 per cent each of the total expenditure.

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) covers nearly 81.09 crore persons, helping them receive highly subsidised foodgrains through the Targeted Public Distribution System under two categories — Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Households. This is nearly two-third of the country’s population per Census 2011. The NFSA provides coverage for up to 75 per cent of the rural population.

Interestingly, the National Rurban Mission (NRuM), aimed to develop a cluster of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life, with a focus on equity and inclusiveness, has not received much attention or funds. In six years, ₹2, 548 crore — which is not even 1 per cent of the total expenditure on the six schemes — was utilised on NRuM.

 

What’s in store for FY22

According to PRS Legislative Research, among the schemes, the MGNREGS has the highest allocation in FY22, at ₹73,000 crore. Allocation to the scheme has seen an annual increase of 1 per cent over FY20. However, in FY21, allocation to the scheme was increased by ₹50,000 crore (81 per cent) from the budgeted stage to the revised stage. The allocation to PMGSY increased to ₹15,000 crore from ₹13,700 crore. The National Rural Livelihood Mission received ₹13,677 crore from ₹9,210 crore — a jump of over 48 per cent.

After MGNREGS, the PM-KISAN scheme (income support to farmers) had the second-highest allocation in FY21, at ₹65,000 crore, an annual increase of 16 per cent over FY20.

Basics matter most

While economists and bureaucrats talk of budgets and fund allocations, to most poor rural folks, development still means roti, kapda and makaan. “Life is nothing but to strive to get work, earn money to sustain and if possible build a shelter. What else can we people can aim for?” asks Sammad Kanwade, a farmer who doubles up as farm labourer in Sangli district of Maharashtra.

Published on February 05, 2021

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