Governance

Prioritise and fast-track work on flagship rural schemes: Central report to states

The report is important as the current financial year ends on March 31

 
By Kiran Pandey
Last Updated: Friday 28 February 2020
MGNREGA workers in Rajasthan. Photo: Srikant Chaudhary / CSE

Timely payment of wages, grievance redressal at village-level, skill-building and better market connectivity need to be the focus of rural development programmes, a recently-released report on such schemes run by the Union Ministry of Rural Development has said.

The state-wise performance report is an outcome of the discussions held by an empowered committee appointed in February 2019, with state governments.

It assessed the performance of various states for 2018-19 in schemes including:

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural) (PMAY-R)
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojna (DDU-GKY),
  • Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission
  • Deen Dayal Antyoday Yojana
  • National Rural Livelihood Mission
  • Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana
  • National Social assistance programme

All these programmes are supposed to be implemented by the central government through state governments for sustainable and inclusive growth of the rural areas.

Performance of states in schemes including MNREGS, DDU-GKY, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana and PMAY-G have been poor, according to the report.

‘Focus on MGNREGS’

The report lauded the rural development ministry for reforming and translating MGNREGS into a successful programme for the rural poor between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

The report acknowledged lacunae in the way the scheme was implemented across the country during this period. However, it noted that bottlenecks like corruption and lack of technical planning had been addressed to ensure effective implementation.

As a result, MGNREGS witnessed a record expenditure of Rs 69,809 crore in 2018-19, the highest since the programme started, the report said.  

However, an analysis of the performance of MGNREGA for 2018-19 showed that it failed to be of any help to drought-stricken districts.  

For instance, there has been an overall decline in the number of person days generated from 2015-16 to 2019-20. In fact, there has been a 16 per cent decrease in the number of person days generated between 2018-19 and 2019-20, according to the MGNREGA dashboard as seen on February 19, 2020.

It decreased to 223 crore person days in 2019-20, from 268 crore person-days in 2018-19.

Financial year

Person-days generated so  far (In crores)

2014-15

166.21

2015-16

235.14

2016-17

235.64

2017-18

233.74

2018-19

267.98

2019-20

223.06

The report asked states to focus on MRGEGS. Arunachal Pradesh has been asked to increase person-days under MGNREGA to 100 lakh from 50 lakh. Karnataka has been asked to raise its target to 12 crore person days from 10 crore.

Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura have been asked to provide adequate person-days, focus more on natural resource management and building community assets under MGNREGS.

But while the scheme has been poorly implemented on the ground, the budget for it has been slashed in 2020-21. This is happening at a time when rural India is suffering its worst unemployment crisis in 45 years.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojna

Just 1.87 lakh rural youth were trained to be given new skills under DDU-GKY, as against the target of 4.54 lakh, the report said. This means that 59 per cent of the target remains unmet under this scheme

Twenty-seven Indian states missed their targets under DDU-GKY, including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha that missed 50-90 per cent of the target. An exception was Andhra Pradesh, that surpassed the target of training 23,870 youth.

The report advised states to prioritise the training of rural youth and facilitate access to gainful employment.

Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Just 52 per cent of the projects were completed under the most important scheme that was launched by the central government in 2014 with much fanfare, the report found. Of the 66,230 projects planned under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, just 34,661 were completed.

While 13 per cent of the remaining projects were in progress in February 2019, 23,259 projects were yet to start, the report said. West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra have been the laggard states under this scheme, according to the report.

They have been asked to focus on developing rural infrastructure under the scheme that seems to have lost its sheen amongst the legislators over the years.

This had earlier been pointed out by the State of India’s Environment In figures, brought out by Down to Earth magazine that is published by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Grameen

About 7.47 lakh houses out of the targeted one crore under the PMAY-G were yet to be completed, the report said. Most of these cases were in Bihar (26 per cent), Odisha (15.2 per cent), Tamil Nadu (8.7 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (eight per cent).

The report asked these states to take necessary steps for completing them in a time-bound manner.

Under Phase 2 of the scheme, the government has set itself a target of completing construction of 1.95 crore houses between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana

PMGSY achieved 85 per cent of its target.

So far, 668,455 km of road length had been sanctioned of which, 581,417 km had been completed. 

This financial year (2019-20) too, the government had achieved close to 53 per cent of the target set for the year.

Of 58,000 km of road length targeted for this year, 31,000 km had been constructed.

Connectivity via roads would be critical to ensure access to markets required by the farmers. Hence, PMGSY III had been proposed for 1.25 lakh km of roads to be upgraded, the report said.

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