Modi May Have Repackaged 23 UPA Schemes, But Most Are Working Better Now

The Narendra Modi government has addressed systemic issues that have traditionally plagued development schemes in India.

The Narendra Modi government has addressed systemic issues that have traditionally plagued development schemes in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Indian community event at Yangon, Myanmar on September 06, 2017. Credit: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Indian community event at Yangon, Myanmar on September 06, 2017. Credit: PIB

Mohitkumar Daga and Parag Mohanty have been engaged by the Bharatiya Janata Party to consult on election campaigns. However, the views expressed by them in this article are their personal views. 

As the Narendra Modi government enters the fourth year of its mandate, the opposition has accused it of usurping as many as 23 legacy schemes of the UPA and rebranding them as its own. However, there is more to government schemes than names. It is probably simplistic to say that some of these schemes have been copied when they have undergone changes in key features and have, in many cases, seen a holistic refashioning of the ecosystem in which they operate.

In a departure from the policymaking of earlier years, the Modi government has addressed systemic issues that have traditionally plagued development schemes in India. The shift to a sector-wide approach as opposed to creating schemes in silos, uniting similar schemes and a greater role for states in implementation has enhanced the efficacy of schemes. Bottlenecks in delivery have also been addressed with the increased use of technology in monitoring (Garv and Swacchh Bharat dashboards), fixing accountability (PRAGATI) and broadening public interaction (MyGov). Similarly, proactive communication, including the prime minister’s involvement through social media and his radio programme, has increased awareness about and participation in many welfare schemes.

In addition to improvements of the ecosystem, each of these 23 schemes have undergone major changes in at least one of their key elements – goal, design and delivery. Changes in some of these schemes have signalled a major shift in the policy priorities of the government.

The launch of the Jan Dhan Yojana signalled a shift to household-level financial inclusion from the earlier habitation-level financial access policy. Similarly, Sagarmala was conceptualised to drive economic infrastructure around ports as opposed to the erstwhile National Maritime Development Programme, which focused merely on ports development. To end the diversion of subsidised urea, the government mandated 100% production of neem-coated urea instead of imposing an arbitrary 35% cap on production as under UPA. Similarly, the Modi government introduced the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana to improve farmer incomes by leveraging the premium on organic farm products. With the launch of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and a host of complementary schemes like Smart Cities, Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for holistic urban development, the Modi government is set to revive the stagnating urban sector which had floundered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission of the UPA.

Many schemes have been expanded to cover a broader base of beneficiaries. The soil health card scheme was envisaged to provide soil health cards for all 11.8 crore landholdings to improve the inconsistent issue of cards under state programmes. Similarly, the Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh (PAHAL) scheme doubled the coverage of direct transfer of LPG subsidies from 9.22 crore consumers in 291 districts to 18.22 crore in all districts. Similarly, the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana expanded maternity benefits coverage to all districts compared to the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, which covered only 53 districts in the country.

Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) have been redesigned to improve their utility and adoption. In contrast to earlier crop insurance schemes, the PMFBY set the crop insurance premium to a fixed percentage of the amount insured and redefined the loss assessment area to the village level, leading to a renewed demand for crop insurance. Similarly, by introducing a fixed pension under the Atal Pension Yojana, the government managed to turn around the lukewarm response to it’s predecessor Swavalamban scheme, which had unpredictable returns. The government redesigned the Jan Aushadhi Yojana by creating a strategic action plan and addressing deficiencies which had prevented the scheme from taking off. Effective financial and behavioural incentives have also been integrated into Swacchh Bharat and the PMAY to correct the failures of previous schemes.

The government has also revamped delivery mechanisms under many schemes. The initiatives being undertaken for e-governance and digital interface with citizenry were divided across ministries, but have now been brought under one umbrella of Digital India, leading to mission-mode implementation. Similarly, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao combines many scattered interventions with dedicated funds allotted to a nodal ministry accountable for results. The Skill India mission too introduced a coherent framework and streamlined processes for over 70 different skilling schemes run by 21 ministries. The Mission Indradhanush scheme was initiated to intensify universal immunisation in priority districts with low health indicators, as opposed to earlier programmes which did not have specific focus. Continuous monitoring of delivery has also been introduced in schemes which were suffering from poor implementation. The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana has quickened the pace of electrification through real-time monitoring with the GARV dashboard and is a distinct improvement over its predecessor Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana.

Scheme Period Indicator Scheme Period Indicator
Soil Health Cards by States 2011-2014 2.8 crore cards Soil Health Card Scheme 2015-2017 9.2 crore cards as on August 4, 2017
Indira Awas Yojana 2011-2015 (Partial Data) 54,30,877 units PMAY (G) 2016-2017 1 crore units (approved)
Rajiv Awas Yojana 2009-2014 1,60,931 units approved of which 19,920 completed PMAY (U) 2016-2017 21,00,475 units (approved)
Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan 2012-2014 95,35,456


Swacchh Bharat Mission 2014-2017 4,55,81,550 toilets  as on August 3, 2017
Swavalamban Scheme 2010-2015 41.46 lakh  beneficiaries Atal Pension Yojana 2015-2017 58 lakh beneficiaries
No-Frills Accounts as per RBI Notification 2005-2014 24.3 crore


Jan Dhan Yojana 2014-2017 29.33 crore accounts as on August 4, 2017
Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana 2005-2014 1,08,642 villages electrified Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana 2015-2017 14,175 villages electrified including habitations above population 100 as on August 4, 2017
National Skill Development Mission- through NSDC 2011-2014 13.5 lakh individuals trained Skill India (PMKVY) 2015-2017 20.45 lakh individuals trained including 4.61 lakh recognition of prior learning
JNNURM 2005-2014 Central Layout of Rs.59,066 over 9 years with less than 51% completion rate AMRUT 2015-2017 Central Layout: Rs. 50,000 crore over 5 years; Projects worth Rs. 30,657crores approved
Direct Benefit Transfer-LPG 2013-2015 9.22 crore LPG customers in 291 districts Pahal 2015-2017 18.22 crore LPG customers in all districts
Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme 1996-2015 10.465 lakh hectare covered Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana- AIBP subscheme 2015-2017 2.47 lakh hectare covered
Rashtirya Krishi Vikas Yojana 2007 onwards Still active-umbrella scheme for agricultural sector, includes variable sub-schemes Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana 2015-2017 New scheme to promote organic farming and to bring 5 lakh acre of area under organic farming by 2017-18. Separate outlay of Rs 350 crore in FY 2017-18
National Agricultural Insurance Scheme/ Modified NAIS 1999-2015 2.99 crore hectares covered in FY 2012-13 Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana 2016-2017 5.81 crore hectares covered in FY 2016-17
National Manufacturing Policy 2011-2014 Average Annual FDI: $31,487 million Make in India 2015-2017 Average Annual FDI: $43,561 million
National Maritime Development Programme 2005-2012 Total Expenditure: Rs 1,00,339 crore Sagarmala 2016-2035 Expenditure: Rs 8 lakh crore (projected)
Fortified Urea Policy 2012-2014 Average neem-coated urea production at 24.94% of total urea production Neem-coated Urea Policy 2015-2017 Average neem-coated urea production at 100% of total urea production
Jan Aushadhi Scheme 2008-2014 199 stores opened out of which only 99 functional Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana 2015-2017 1,957 stores opened
National e-Governance Plan 2006-2015 Budget/activities spread across multiple ministries Digital India 2015-2017 Activities in mission mode under Department of Electronics and IT with budget of Rs 1672 crore in FY 2017-18
Universal Immunization Programme 1985-2014 Routine immunisation programme Mission Indradhanush 2014-2017 Accelerated immunisation in 201 high-focus districts for all children below 2 years includes pneumococcal vaccine
National Optical Fibre Network 2011-2014 5,378 km of Optical Fibre laid BharatNet 2015-2017 2,23,200 km of Optical Fibre laid as on August 13, 2017
National Rural Livelihood Mission 2012-2014 Primarily supported SHGs for self-employment activities Deen Dayal Updhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana 2015-2017 Adds on to NRLM to expand placement-linked skill trainings (4.32 lakh candidates trained)
National Girl Child Day Programme 2013-2014 No separate budgetary allocation in budget in 2013 and 2014 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao 2014-2017 Separate budgetary allocation from 2015 (Rs.200 crore for FY 2017-18)
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahayog Yojana 2010-2016 Applicable to 53 districts only Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana 2017 Applicable to all districts

This approach of combining systemic changes and better features has resulted in more impactful schemes. These schemes, alleged to be copies of erstwhile programmes, are better in both form and substance. The performance data on these 23 schemes speaks for itself.

Mohitkumar Daga and Parag Mohanty have been engaged by the Bharatiya Janata Party to consult on election campaigns. However, the views expressed by them in this article are their personal views.