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Budget Briefs 2021-22: Tracing Trends Of Government Schemes

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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.

finance minister nirmala sitaraman
Representational image.

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:

Education

  • 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.

Nutrition

  • 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.

Health

  • 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.

Rural Livelihood

  • 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.

Water

  • 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.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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