3 years of Modi govt: Are NDA’s big programmes delivering?

When it comes to big-ticket programmes, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Narendra Modi has launched a raft of new schemes, championed old ones or silently embraced those it was once critical of. Here’s how four such big programmes have fared vis-à-vis their stated objectives and targets in the three years of Modi government.

HOUSING: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), or PMAY

Target

With the aim of ‘housing for all’, the centre plans to facilitate the building of 20 million ‘affordable’ houses in Indian cities by providing financial assistance to urban local bodies, implementing agencies and households. The scheme is scheduled to run from 2015 to 2022.

 

Progress

Much of the scheme’s first two years have gone in spadework. Thus, against the 2022 target of building 20 million new houses, 9.3% has been approved. In terms of completion, the figure is 5.3% of the houses approved and 0.5% of the overall target.

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Funding

The central government spend mirrors the scheme’s slow physical progress. So far, the centre has released about 31% of the amount it has committed for the cleared projects.

 

 

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Highlight

The scheme’s progress varies across states. Other than Gujarat and Karnataka, all states with the maximum PMAY houses approved have little to show in terms of completion.

 

 

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Challenges

Private involvement: Private builders have been reluctant to take up PMAY projects, citing low margins in the affordable housing segment, which are further compounded by the opaque and high-cost approvals process endemic to Indian real estate.

Affordability: The need for housing in cities is the greatest at the lowest income strata. Even as the government struggles to service this segment at a low price point, it has relaxed the income cap for households to avail a discount on home loan rates. This can boost PMAY numbers, but it won’t help meet the ‘housing for all’ objective.

Source: pmaymis.gov.in, indiabudget.nic.in

 

FINANCIAL INCLUSION: Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

 

Target

Aims to provide “universal access to banking facilities, with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility”. The scheme was launched in August 2014, with no end date specified.

 

Progress

Measured on number of accounts, progress has been brisk in this top-down scheme—entailing a government push to banks—going from 0 to 280 million new accounts in under three years. But usage levels are still low: the average account balance is only Rs 2,278.

 

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Funding

The programme is driven by a government nudge to banks and the unbanked: increasingly, welfare benefits will move through Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfers to bank accounts. It doesn’t entail the government paying banks, and barely affects the exchequer directly.

 

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Highlight

While releasing its year-end review for 2016, the department of financial services (DFS) reported that 99.9% of the 212 million households it surveyed had a bank account. But did it under-count households? Census 2011 counted 246 million. At an annual growth of 2.5%, as between 2001 and 2011, India would have 278 million households in 2016. If all households the DFS did not survey did not have a bank account, 66 million households (24%) still don’t have a bank account.

 

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Challenges

Usage needs to pick up, especially given that the system is being primed for delivery of welfare benefits through Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfers. Although the numbers are continuously improving, 24% of Jan Dhan accounts have no money and 34% are yet to be linked to Aadhaar.

Source: www.pmjdy.gov.in, indiabudget.nic.in, Census (2001-2011) data, year-end review of department of financial services (2016 data)

 

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION: Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Targets

Aims to achieve electrification of 18,452 villages by May 2018, and electrification of 45 million rural households by December 2018.

 

 

Progress

About 73% of the 18,452 villages that did not even have power infrastructure now have it, and the government should reach its target on this count. But this doesn’t necessarily mean every household in the village has access to electricity. At present, in only 6% of these 18,452 villages do 100% households have access. Increasing this metric is the scheme’s next big target.

 

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Funding

This is one of the big programmes the centre has been pushing, and its spends and allocations have stayed consistent.

 

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Highlight

Even in the villages that have power infrastructure, there are many households that don’t have access to electricity—across India, 45 million of the 179 million rural households, or 25%. Linking them to the grid is the next big step for the programme. At present, DDUGJY is addressing 0.7 million.

 

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Challenges

Power for all: Even as villages are getting new power infrastructure, there are issues of last-mile connectivity and supply, making the ‘power for all’ goal a challenge.

M1 to M12: When it comes to electrifying a village, there are 12 stages outlined by the ministry—from M1 (awarding a village), M2 (receipt of poles) to M12 (handing over a village). Work is at various stages, which is something the headline numbers don’t always convey.

Source: garv.gov.in, indiabudget.nic.in

 

RURAL EMPLOYMENT: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

Target

Launched by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2006, the scheme aims to provide 100 days of assured employment to a rural household in a year.

 

Progress

When the current government entered office, Prime Minister Modi portrayed MGNREGS as a symbol of the Congress’ ineffectual legacy. But, following a drought which led to a fall in farm output and incomes, the BJP-led government has increased employment and spends to the scheme.

 

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Funding

Average daily wages have increased from Rs132 in 2013-14 to Rs161 in 2016-17. As a result, after a small dip in 2014-15, total funding by the centre has since increased sizeably.

 

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Highlight

Non-BJP states have registered an increase in MGNREGS spending in the past two years, while BJP-ruled states registered a spike in 2016-17.

 

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Challenges

Lengthy delays in paying workers have marked MGNREGS. Recently, the centre said it had cleared 89% of wages within 15 days of the work being done. In the past four years, this figure ranged between 27% and 50%. Can the government maintain this year’s high numbers?

Source: mnregaweb4.nic.in, news reports

Graphics by Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

 

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Goa election results: Where the BJP was hit in maps

At 3 pm, three states have been settled. But the fight is still open in two states, one of them being Goa. In the 40-member assembly, the BJP is down from 21 seats to 14 wins/leads, ceding ground to the Congress and other parties. Here are three pockets where the BJP has seen a fall over 2012.

Rural seats (3/12)

In the 12 assembly constituencies where the rural population was above 56%, the BJP has seen its count drop from 8 in 2012 to 3 this time. Those gaining included the Congress (from 3 to 5), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (2 seats) and independents (2 seats).

 

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Poor-amenities seats (3/12)

There are 12 assembly constituencies in Goa where 22% households or more don’t receive drinking water inside their houses. The BJP’s count in such seats fell from 9 to 3.

 

 

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‘Richer’ households (3/12)

In the 13 Goa constituencies where the percentage of ‘richer households’—defined as households who, under Census 2011, were recorded as owning a motorised two-wheeler/four-wheeler, TV set, computer and phone—was above 25%, the BJP bettered its 2012 showing (from 5 seats to 6 seats). But in the 12 constituencies where such households made up less than 18%, the BJP’s count fell from 9 to 3.

 

Track Goa Election Results 2017 here

 

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Why the population share of Muslims in India falls with age

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

The population share of Muslims in India drops as they age, according to Census 2011. While Muslims account for about 17.3% of the population below four years of age, their share plummets to 12.3% in the 40-44 years age group and below 11% after 65 years. In contrast, Hindus and Christians don’t show such a decline with age. And this trend holds across the top six states by Muslim population.

 

 

Data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the government body that conducts surveys on various aspects of the life of Indians, shows that, in 2011-12, compared to Hindus, a greater percentage of Muslims in urban areas spent less than Rs1,757 per month—the lowest expenditure band in the survey.

Lower spending, the likely result of lower incomes, means less access to nutritious meals and healthcare, and therefore shorter lifespans.

According to Census 2011, about 40% of Muslims live in urban areas, compared to 30% Hindus. However, any hypothesis that Muslims, on average, die at a younger age than other religious groupings, fails if we go by rural incomes: an equal percentage of Hindus and Muslims are at this lowest spending threshold of Rs1,075 per month.

The hypothesis also fails by a more direct measure: life expectancy. According to data from the International Institute for Population Sciences, in 2005-06, the overall life expectancy of Muslims was higher than the national average and that for Hindus. Even among the poor, defined here as those in the lowest wealth quintile, the life expectancy among Muslims was the same as the national average and higher than Hindus.

Could outbound migration be the reason? However, experts say, inbound migration among Muslims is more likely, which is one of the reasons for the overall growth of the Muslim population. Could it be that fertility rates are increasing? Again, broad trends show fertility rates coming down, though the rate of decrease is slower for Muslims.

A more plausible reason is how the Muslim share has grown over the decades. In 1950, Muslims made up about 10% of India’s population, according to a paper by Houssain Kettani titled Muslim Population in Asia: 1950-2020. Indian Muslims born around that time would be crossing 65 years now. And Census 2011 estimates the Muslim population above 65 years at around 11%.

Younger age groups for Muslims also show a similar correspondence to the overall Muslim share over the years. Overall Muslim share in the population, as per the same paper, has increased from about 10% in 1950 to 13.4% in 2010. Thus, it is more likely that this age-based decline in the Muslim share has less to do with death and more to do with birth: a construct of their overall population share increasing over the decades.

 

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A data interactive that traces the variance within scheduled caste groups in education

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

About 21% of Chandigarh’s overall population above the age of 20 years has a graduate degree. But in the same age group among scheduled castes (SCs) in Chandigarh, only about 6% are graduates. Drill further into the 21 groups that make up the SC graduate population of this union territory. In one-fourth of these groups, only 2% are graduates; in another one-fourth, 11% are graduates.

Contrary to the way they are usually referred to, SCs are hardly a homogenous grouping when it comes to levels of educational attainment. This is borne out by a state-level dataset released earlier this year by Census 2011 on the literacy and educational attainment of Indians from 600-odd SC groups.

While the data overwhelmingly shows how, on average, SCs trail non-SC population at every level of education, there are nuances. For instance, the variance among SC groups within a state. There are states where such variances are small and some where they are large.

Use the interactive below to explore these nuances at the state level. The data can be sliced in various ways: by educational level, age, gender and location.

 

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