Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push in his Independence Day speech for “100 percent saturation” of government schemes involves six key initiatives, which though have reached a significant population so far, need a quantum jump in the run-up to 2024 when Modi would be seeking a third term in office as prime minister.
As listed out by the PM himself, these schemes are Ayushman Bharat which offers free medical insurance, Ujjwala Yojana that offers free LPG connections, the twin life insurance schemes backed by the government, the Atal Pension scheme, the PM Housing Scheme and Har Ghar Jal Scheme for drinking water. Four of them rolled out in Modi’s first term and played a role in his 2019 win while ‘Ayushman Bharat’ and ‘Har Ghar Jal’ have shown some impact on the ground in Modi’s second term so far.
“Crores of people are getting the benefits of many schemes started in the last seven years. Today, the speed of government schemes has increased and they are achieving the desired goals. We have progressed much faster than before. But it does not end here. We have to achieve saturation. We have to move ahead with a mindset of cent percent achievement…for this, we do not have to keep a distant deadline. We have to make our resolutions come true within a few years,” the Prime Minister said from the Red Fort.
News18 did a detailed analysis of where the six schemes stand:
Ayushman Bharat – Lot to be done
Launched in late 2018 just before the Lok Sabha polls, Ayushman Bharat is supposed to provide free medical insurance family cover of Rs 5 lakh to nearly 50 crore people in the country. While the scheme has no targets given the nature of the scheme involves medical support, about 10 crore beneficiaries have got cards so far to validate their eligibility for the scheme, implying that nearly 40 crore beneficiaries are still to get these cards from the Centre. Various states have also extended the scheme to cover 15 crore more people and have given cards to 6 crore of such people so far.
The two biggest states with most beneficiaries, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are lagging on this front of distributing cards with 1.4 crore and 70 lakh cards distributed so far respectively though both these states have nearly 10 crore beneficiaries each. Two crore hospital admissions have been reported under the scheme till date with claims worth Rs 25,000 crore. But UP and Bihar have reported far less admissions so far, at 7.7 lakh and 2.9 lakh respectively, and smaller states have performed better, showing the scheme’s awareness in UP and Bihar is not as desired so far.
Ujjwala Yojana — Best Saturation
The free LPG connection scheme of Ujjwala was completed ahead of deadline in 2019 for eight crore beneficiaries who did not have a gas connection in the country. This was a game-changer scheme for the Modi government in the 2019 elections. The PM last week launched a second version of the scheme in which one crore more beneficiaries will get a free LPG connection that is expected to translate into full LPG penetration in the country. Within a week of the launch, over three lakh of these connections have been given out and the government may achieve its target in 2021 itself.
Two Life Insurance Schemes — Need a Push
The two life insurance schemes launched in Modi’s first term have seen modest progress and have scope for more coverage. They are voluntary. PM Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) has 23.6 crore beneficiaries as on date between the age of 18-70 who pay merely Rs 12 as premium in a year to get accidental life insurance of Rs 2 lakh. The uptake of the PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) is lesser at only 10.5 crore beneficiaries between the age of 18-50 who pay Rs 330 annually for a cover of Rs 2 lakh in case of death.
There are nearly 55 crore people in the country in the age-group of 18-50 years and around 65 crore in the age group 18-70 years.
Atal Pension Yojana — Big Scheme, Low Uptake
Only 3.13 crore people have enrolled themselves into the Atal Pension Yojana launched in PM Modi’s first term as part of an ambitious aim of a ‘universal social security system’. The scheme is close to the government’s heart as it offers monthly pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 to any person after the age of 60 years depending on how much premium he chooses to pay, transfers the pension benefit to the spouse of the beneficiary after his or her death and transfers the entire corpus of pension wealth till the age of 60 years to the nominee after the couple passes away. The scheme is open to anyone between 18-40 years of age to join and this age group has over 45 crore young people in the country.
PM Housing Scheme — 2022 aim
This is one scheme that is doing reasonably well against its ambitious target of giving every homeless person a house by the end of 2022. Against a fresh target of delivering about 2.67 crore houses by the end of 2022, 1.53 crore houses (60%) have been completed so far and another 48 lakh have been sanctioned and are in various stages of construction. The government is aiming to complete 2.01 crore houses hence by March 2022 and the rest of the target (65 lakh houses) by the end of 2022. Big states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are however struggling, covering less than 50% and 40% overall target of theirs respectively so far.
Har Ghar Jal — Game-Changer for 2024?
The piped drinking water for all scheme launched in Modi government’s second term on Independence Day in 2019 could be the real game-changer for the BJP come 2024, as it has a target for completion in the same year. Only 17% of the country’s households, about 3.2 crore, had tap water connections when the scheme began, and this has already risen to 42% as on date with 4.7 crore connections given in the last two years. The Centre has an ambitious aim of competing the scheme ahead of time in 2023, before the general elections of 2024. For that to happen, the biggest state of Uttar Pradesh will have to outperform as it still has only 17% tap water saturation with 32 lakh out of 2.6 crore households covered so far. West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have less than 15% coverage. Rajasthan is at 20%.
Narendra Modi’s words from Red Fort are a message also to central government departments running these schemes to push themselves for 100% saturation. “The biggest advantage of this 100 percent accomplishment rate is that no one remains deprived of the benefits of the government scheme. When the government operates with a target to reach the person in the last line, only then there is no discrimination and there is no scope for corruption,” the PM stressed from the Red Fort on Sunday.