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Centre nudges States to showcase welfare schemes ahead of 2024 polls

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Ahead of 2024 elections, Modi government is rushing to showcase welfare schemes aimed at ensuring ease of living. For the purpose, the 3rd National Conference of Chief Secretaries has been convened in October, where the implementation status of all these schemes in States and Union Territories will be evaluated. Five Ministries — Housing and Urban Development, Power, Drinking Water and School Education — directly linked to people’s well being are being nudged to display their performance before Lok Sabha elections sometime in May, next year.

Schemes and programmes including Jal Jeevan Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, electricity for all and implementation of New Education Policy 2020 have obvious political advantages that are sought to be maximised by getting Ministries to pinpoint their implementation status and changes they have brought in ordinary people’s lives.

The designated nodal Ministries have already circulated concept notes to States and Union Territories on respective themes so that they come prepared for the 3rd National Conference of Chief Secretaries with the central theme of “Promoting Ease of Living”, a Cabinet Secretariat note accessed by businessline revealed.

These government schemes have been designed to bring comprehensive change in the lives, especially of underprivileged. From education to offering opportunities to own houses, for getting potable water right at their own residences, and for getting round-the-clock power supply, the welfare aspect of all these schemes is sought to be highlighted in the run-up to the elections.

Lagging behind

The schemes are lagging behind on many fronts. For instance, the Jal Jeevan Mission, for providing safe drinking water to rural India which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced from the Red Fort on August 15, 2019, is far from fulfilling its promise.

The government is yet to provide tapped water to 44 per cent of households. The scheme is being implemented in coordination with States and UTs since water is a state subject. Till January 30, this year, 11.05 crore out of total 19.36 crore rural households reportedly got tapped water connection, as per the Ministry statistics. At the time of announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission, the number of tap water connections reportedly was 3.23 crore which is just 17 per cent of the total rural households.

Similarly, till December last year, the Ministry of Urban Development and housing had completed about 53 per cent houses sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U), that leaves another 47 per cent homes that are various stages of construction. The government had launched PMAY-U in 2015 with initial target of one crore houses but the figure went up owing to more demands raised by some states. Accordingly, the deadline of of the scheme was also extended from March 2022 to December 31, 2024.

Sources said that besides the completion issues, beneficiaries are also finding difficulties in paying their share of the cost of house as per originally worked out schedule. According to that, the Centre has to cough up 24.4 per cent, while States and urban local bodies’ share is 16 per cent and the remaining almost 60 per cent has to be borne by beneficiaries.



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