2020 saw unprecedented disruptions in India’s public system. As you will see from the new volume of our flagship ‘Budget Briefs’ series, welfare schemes have played an important role in this period. They prominently featured in the Government of India’s (GoI’s) policy response – from frontloading payments under the PM-KISAN farmer income support programme to additional provisions for the Mid-Day Meal scheme.
Yet, low revenues meant that many ministries had to significantly cut their budgets for the year, resulting in low releases and utilisations.
The situation was particularly hard on fronts such as nutrition and education. With the temporary closure of Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) during the lockdown came the very real threat of an increase in malnutrition. Typically, an AWC delivers a range of services meant for the well-being of children, adolescent girls and women. Crucially, while funding increased for the scheme, both fund releases and spending were low with the pandemic’s onslaught. The situation has been similar in education.
From the section below, you will find links to download the briefs, and highlight findings from our analyses:
Samagra Shiksha: With schools closed and classroom-based teaching halted, the potential of employing digital technologies has become clearer. But the infrastructure for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was low in most states prior to the pandemic and has been prioritised in plans by only some states. Download.
Mid-Day Meal: Additional fund allocations have been made. For instance, ₹1,600 crores to provide MDM or Food Security Allowance (FSA) during the summer vacation. The pace of fund release, however, has been slow. Download.
Poshan Abhiyaan: Till 31 October 2020, no state other than Nagaland had received any funds from GoI. Download.
Integrated Child Development Services: The scheme has seen vacancies in sanctioned posts both before and during pandemic for two key positions – Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) and Lady Supervisors. Download.
Food Subsidy & National Food Security Act: As per projected population figures for 2020, 89% of estimated eligible people were covered under the NFSA as of November 2020 – 10 crore lower than legally mandated. On 26 March 2020, GoI announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a limited period, to counter the pandemic’s impact on food security. Among our findings are significant state-wise variations in the offtake and distribution of foodgrains. Download.
Ayushman Bharat: Coverage of the scheme has been high. As on 15 July 2020, across India, 58% of eligible households were covered under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. A further 8% were covered by state schemes. Download.
National Health Mission: To tackle the pandemic, a new package – the Emergency COVID Response Package (ECRP) – was started under the NHM. Allocations of ₹6,028 crores were made by GoI, of which 99% had been released by 1 January 2021. Download.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi: By 25 December 2020, GoI had released all three instalments meant for eligible farmers under the scheme, amounting to around ₹58,613 crores. This was 19% more than total releases made in Financial Year 2019-20 but only 78% of the year’s allocations (Budget Estimates). Download.
Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: With additional allocations of ₹40,000 crores, MGNREGS’ budget went over ₹1 lakh crore, the highest-ever since the scheme’s inception. Even then, demand has outstripped provisions. For instance, by December 2020, 62% more households had sought work under the scheme compared to the same period last year. Only 76% of households that had demanded employment had been provided work. Download.
Jal Jeevan Mission: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the financial year 2020-21, several states had already committed to achieving the declared targets for JJM well before the scheme’s 2024 deadline. Yet funding for the scheme has been much lower than the amount initially approved by the Cabinet. Download.