Budget 2021

The waxing and waning of core schemes

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on February 01, 2019

Allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana dips; focus shifts to schemes for farmers, unorganised labour

The Prime Minister’s six flagship ‘core of the core’ schemes — including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA) and the umbrella scheme for the development of scheduled castes — have received marginally higher budgetary allocations in the Interim Budget, with the focus shifting to the two new welfare schemes for unorganised labour and small farmers, announced this year.

Some ‘core sector’ schemes, including the much-hyped Swachh Bharat Mission and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), have received lower allocations than in the previous year, although the increase in overall allocation for all 17 core-sector schemes is steeper (about 8 per cent higher than the previous year).

More in the kitty

Core schemes that have received considerably higher budgetary allocations this year include Jobs and Skill Development, the National Livelihood Mission, the umbrella Integrated Child Development scheme and the National Education Mission.

On an average, the flagship schemes, marked ‘core of the core’ by the government, have been allocated 4.5 per cent higher budgetary resources in 2019-20 at ₹81,183 crore, compared with the budgetary estimates of last year. But the allocation is actually lower than last year’s revised estimate of ₹84,361.7 crore.

Stand-in Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced in his speech that ₹60,000 crore was being provided for MGNREGA, an amount higher than last year’s budgetary estimate of ₹55,000 crore, but what he did not mention was that the amount actually used up in this demand-driven scheme was actually ₹61,084 crore (revised estimate for 2018-19). However, he added: “Additional amount will be provided if required.”

“During the period 2014-18, a total number of 1.53 crore houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana,” Goyal said.

Despite the impressive numbers, the PMAY has received an allocation of ₹25,853 crore compared with ₹26,405 crore in 2018, an almost 2 per cent decrease.

Cleaning up

Praising the Swachh Bharat Mission, Goyal highlighted its success: “With Swachh Bharat Mission, India has achieved over 98 per cent rural sanitation coverage. This is the largest behavioural-change national movement ever launched in India,” he said.

Allocation for this scheme, which is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, has declined by about 28 per cent in 2019-20 to ₹12,750 crore.

Interestingly, while the budgetary allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission in 2018-19 was ₹17,843 crore, the actual use of the fund was much lower, with revised estimates for 2018-19 at ₹16,978 crore.

Published on February 01, 2019

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