Day 11 – Q 4.India’s social protection schemes are too many in number, and too inefficient. Do you agree? What suggestions would you give to address these issues?
4. India’s social protection schemes are too many in number, and too inefficient. Do you agree? What suggestions would you give to address these issues?
भारत की सामाजिक सुरक्षा योजनाएँ बहुत अधिक संख्या में हैं, और अक्षम भी हैं। क्या आप सहमत हैं? इन मुद्दों के समाधान के लिए आप क्या सुझाव देंगे?
India being a social welfare state has more than hundreds of schemes if we include both centre and state-sponsored programs in different sectors such as health, education, agriculture etc. to provide better facilities and social protection to the people especially vulnerable section such as poor, women, Children, Senior citizen etc.
Some of the flagship schemes are:
- Integrated Child Development Scheme
- Atal Pension Yojana,
- Surakhsa Beema Yojana
- Mid-Day Meal,
- Ayushman Bharat
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
- PM-Fasal Bima Yojna
Despite having so many social protection schemes, India is far behind in creating a harmonious and prosperous society because of Inefficiency of government in the implementation of these schemes due to the following factors:
- Lack of Data causing the inclusion-exclusion error: Most of these initiatives depend on an eight years old database based on 2011 numbers_ the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) _ in an economy which is transforming fast, and where some people have climbed up the income ladder while others have fallen down.
- The multiplicity of schemes: many schemes are designed for the same purpose. Ex. Multiple pension and insurance schemes.
- Hectic and cumbersome process: to get the benefits of schemes. Ex. The complexity of Documentation, Red tapism, Etc.
- Improper monitoring of schemes and absence of feedback system leads to lack of accountability of implementing officer
- Misalignment of incentives: Low incentive for officers to implement the scheme in its full potential. Ex. AASHA worker getting less salary.
- Budget constraints and limited resources of states: states are not able to implement such a large number of centrally sponsored schemes.
- Leakages: in the system. Ex. PDS leakages.
- Nexus: of politicians and private companies. Ex. Pharmaceuticals companies don’t want generic medicines to be sold by the government under PM-Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojna.
- Delay: by private companies in PPP model schemes. Ex. Insurance companies not clearing claims of farmers under PM- Fasal Bima Yojna.
- Lack of awareness among people: Government fails in creating an aware atmosphere where people know what the government is doing for them. Illiteracy also causes hindrance in awareness.
- There is a need to rationalize existing welfare schemes. Schemes should be merged with larger sectoral schemes.
- SECC-type exercise needs to be repeated at frequent intervals to ensure that it matches current reality.
- Use of JAM (Jandhan, Aadhar, Mobile) Trinity for better targeting and Direct benefit transfer.
- Schemes can be tailor-made as per the local conditions as customized policies may work better than homogenous ones in some states
- Need for better coordination among the centre and state governments.
- Need for better coordination among private entities, community, civil society, NGOs and government in designing a public policy in order to improve the transparency, quality and effectiveness of a scheme.
- Need for awareness to the last beneficiary using newspaper, radio, TV, Mobile, Posters, Nukkad Natak, NGO etc
- Incentive-based approach to incentivize the implementing officer.
- The government must employ advanced-monitoring and performance-evaluation techniques to track the progress of schemes and ensure that all relevant data regarding their implementation is available in the public domain.
- The integration of technology-enabled data-collection systems with an online database for timely and accurate updates on program developments.
- Audit by third-party agencies enabling relative neutrality in performance evaluation.
- A universal basic income is a powerful idea which must be implemented.
Social protection is crucial in ensuring equitable development and it will catalyze the transition to a more stable and robust economy which is must for a New India. Uses of Digital India and E-Governance such as PRAGATI platform are the right steps in this direction.