Government

Eight Charts Show the Modi Govt's Spending Patterns on Flagship Welfare Schemes

For several schemes, the revised expenditure for 2019-20 is lower than what was originally budgeted.

New Delhi: In her Budget speech on Saturday morning, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre is focusing on “boosting spending and enhancing consumer spending”.

Like last year, her long speech didn’t contain too much detail on how much the government was actually planning to spend under different heads in the coming year, or how much it spent from the allocated amount from the previous financial year.

Here, in charts, The Wire breaks down how much the Centre promised to spend on certain flagship welfare schemes last year, how much it actually expects to spend, and how much it has promised to spend in the year ahead.

1. Ayushman Bharat

This is the Narendra Modi government’s flagship health scheme, launched with much fanfare in September 2018. It has two components: the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which is supposed to provide health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10 crore families, and the creation of “health and wellness centres”.

Though the government planned to spend Rs 6,556 crore on Ayushman Bharat in 2019-20, it ended up spending only Rs 3,314 crore. For the year ahead, the Budget allocates Rs 6,429 crore.

2. PM Kisan

That PM Kisan spending would not keep up with the allocation was clear from The Wire‘s reportage last year. Under the scheme, farming families were promised Rs 6,000 per year as income support from the Central government. It was launched in February 2019, in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.

While the government had set aside Rs 75,000 crore for the scheme in FY’19, it spent only Rs 54,370 crore. This year again, the government has allocated Rs 75,000 crore for the scheme.

3. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

The other much-touted Modi government scheme for farmers is the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) or crop insurance scheme. The government spent almost all of the money allocated under the scheme last year, and has increased the spending for the year ahead.

But is the scheme working? Reportage and analysis by The Wire shows otherwise. Insurance companies have missed the deadline to recognise and pay claims worth over Rs 5,000 crore made by farmers, and 40% of claims went unpaid. While increasing the spending, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman made no mention of what the government would do to make the scheme more effective.

4. Swachh Bharat Mission

The Swachh Bharat Mission, focused on sanitation, is what the Modi government calls one of its success stories. While it allocated Rs 12,644 crore for the scheme (if you add the rural and urban components) in 2019-20, the revised expenditure stands at Rs 9,638 crore. The government plans to boost spending in the coming year, at Rs 12,294 crore, although it is possible that expenditure will wind down as its progress improves.

The government’s “successes” under the SBM have been questioned, however. In a series of reports from Uttar Pradesh, for instance, The Wire found that several toilets existed only on paper, numbers were being fudged and households excluded.

5. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), launched in 2015, the Modi government says it will build 2o million affordable houses by 2022. According to the government, 3.2 million houses have been built in urban areas and 4.73 million in rural areas.

The Centre’s revised expenditure under the scheme matches the budgeted expenditure almost exactly. This year’s budgeted expenditure has been increased to Rs 27,500 crore.

6. AMRUT and Smart Cities

The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission, which have been clubbed together in the Budget documents, are the Modi government’s flagship urban development programmes. In her Budget speech on Saturday, Sitharaman said the government will be designating five more Smart Cities in the country.

This year’s budget allocation is exactly the same as last year’s. It is much more, though, than the revised estimate for last year – instead of Rs 13,750 crore, the government has brought the estimate for 2019-20 down to Rs 9,842 crore.

7. MGNREGA

Even though activists have been repeating that current allocations for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are far from enough and need to be increased, the government has allocated less money to the scheme this year than last year’s revised estimates.

The revised estimates from last year, it should be noted, is Rs 11,002 crore more than what was originally budgeted.

8. National Ganga Plan

The budgeted expenditure on the National Ganga Plan and Ghat Works (known previously by different names including Namami Gange) has increased slightly from Rs 750 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 800 crore in 2020-21. The revised estimate for last year, though, is only slightly more than half of what was budgeted at Rs 353 crore.