Z – Zero Benefit Schemes | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z
Through the journey of 26 posts over the past month, I have tried to bring out some key issues related to the General Elections of 2019. The government should have campaigned and fought this election on the performance of their ministries and schemes but instead, they chose to do otherwise. I personally was disappointed how the institutions have become spineless and opaque and how the government got away without holding a single press conference – a first in Independent India’s history.
The government’s decision to change the narrative to nationalism and taking us back to the era of the early 90s of the Hindu-Muslim divide speaks for itself about the government’s confidence in its performance. In the first few months, a new scheme along with a new slogan was launched. Today they are nowhere discussing any forget all of them.
Visit any petrol pump in the country and you are bound to find a hoarding with PM’s face on it and claiming what a big success this yojna has been. If you closely look at the stats, you will realize its fallacies. To begin with, it turned out to be a myth that the poor will get free cylinders. They have to pay Rs 1600 for the stove and cylinder. Many poor families aren’t able to pay this upfront. Secondly, the subsidy that the government pays from their pocket is also taken back from these poor families in the form of installments.
Till January this year, consumers had paid Rs. 9,968 crores for the so-called free gas cylinder. Out of all the families that have been a beneficiary of the scheme only 10-20% of them have applied for the refilling of the cylinders. This speaks for itself. The doubling of the cost of cylinders with a negligible increase in the income of these families forces them to adopt the traditional methods of fuel. A family that earns around 2000-2500 per month, do you believe they have the capacity to buy a cylinder worth Rs 900 (500 for subsidized cylinder and 400 for installment).
Fasal Bima Yojna (Crop Insurance Scheme)
There is a reason why people have started realizing that this government is truly corporate-friendly in nature. ‘Fasal Bima Yojna’ is a prime example of it. The exponential rise in farmer suicides definitely tells one side of the story as to whether these insurances are helping them or not.
Let me highlight the other side of the story. From the start of July 2016 (Kharif season), in two years, insurance companies amassed a total premium of Rs.50,036 crore, paid out a total compensation worth Rs.35,949 crore — saving Rs.14,088 crore as profit! Out of this premium, the farmers paid around Rs 8719 crore and the rest was spared from the taxpayer’s money. Ideally, if the government really wanted to help then they should have transferred this money to the farmers or at least should have waved loans.
Make in India
A promising scheme that turned out to nothing and it felt as if it was launched just to put the mechanical lion logo in foreign airports. Ideally, it should have given a major boost to the manufacturing sector. The contribution of the manufacturing sector has been stagnant for the last five years and it still hovering around 16-18% of the GDP, which it already was before 2014.
Since the sector remained stagnant and with no data to suggest a direct correlation of any job creation with Make in India, we can safely say how this scheme actually fared. As Raghuram Rajan rightly pointed out, it should have been ‘Made in India’ rather than ‘Make it India’ for it to really give a boost to the sector.
PM Aawas Yojna
Another scheme that was started with a lot of fanfare and was a renaming of the previous government’s ‘Indira Aawas Yojna’ was PM Aawas Yojna with an aim of providing low-cost houses to rural and urban poor. Barring the initial year, the target for the houses to be constructed has come down to the 12-13 & 13-14 levels. In fact, as per the data from the ministry of rural development, the number of houses completed is way less than 12-13 levels.
One scheme that created a lot of buzz long before the government even took the oath was the creation of ‘Smart Cities’. The government aimed at creating 100 smart cities in India but it is yet to come out and openly declare any one of those cities being converted to their benchmark of a smart city. I thought it was illogical to put metro cities under the scheme as they already have most of those facilities, which the mission aims to provide.
The analysis of the Smart Cities Mission, by Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network, concluded that there is the glaring absence of emphasis on inclusion and social justice.
Along with Mudra loans, another scheme that attracted a lot of youth was ‘Startup India Standup India’. Again the government has no data i.e. they haven’t shared publically what happened to the loans disbursed and how many startups are up and running under the scheme. Two years since the launch of the scheme a bleak 10% of the funds were only released.
As per an economic times report from 2017, 5,350 startups that were officially recognized under the scheme, only 74 have got tax benefits.
Already discussed the Jan Dhan Yojna at length in the ‘Banking’ post. Details about the Mudra loan scheme have been discussed in the ‘unemployment‘ post. Similarly, I highlighted the failures of Skill development scheme in the ‘Youth’ post.
A stat from the PM’s last 35 rallies throws up some disturbingly narcissistic facts. He has mentioned his own ‘surname’ more than 130 times while ‘development’ being mentioned a dismal seven times. India, slowly but surely, has moved towards a presidential-format of elections where it is only about a couple of individuals. Well, democracy is not about that! One should learn the art of referring to one’s own self in the third person from the PM. His self-love is supreme and blinding.
I would like to thank each and everyone who was along with me on this journey especially on this theme. Many close friends said that they resisted from commenting just because of the supercharged and trolling atmosphere, which is why I chose this theme as this kind of atmosphere is driving more and more people away from key issues. A lot of hard work and research has gone in these posts to state only facts and keep away fakery. No words can express my gratitude towards those who took out time to read, comment and share these posts.
Please please please make sure your vote counts and just think about your kids what world we are going to leave for them.
With this, I can officially say that I have completed and survived the challenge. Cheers to all those who did and to those as well who tried but couldn’t. Don’t get disheartened – you are going to come back stronger.
For all those who loved these political posts,
For all those who resisted from commenting,
For all those who encouraged all throughout the journey,
For all those who believe most of these schemes were about Jumlas…
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.
Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League
I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.