Performance of Welfare schemes

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2022
  • 0
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  • Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the ambitious scheme of the One Nation-One Ration Card across the country has brought a lot of relief to the poor.
  • Various other schemes such as One Nation-One Ration Card, distribution of fortified rice, targeted public distribution and other schemes of the Center are being extended to all the beneficiaries
  • India has also improved its Ease of doing business ranking among 190 countries in the EODB Report 2020, from 134th position in 2013 to 63rd, i.e. a jump of 71 ranks.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY):

  • Launched in March 2020 to ameliorate the hardships faced by the poor due to economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and to minimize its impact on food security
  • Distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to about 80 Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA), Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) & Priority Households (PHH) beneficiaries at the scale of 5 Kg per person per month
  • The 7th Phase (October-December, 2022) is ongoing
  • Achievements:
  • the Central Government has provided free food grains to the poor, worth Rs 3.90 lakh crore, the government has made a record purchase of Rs 2.75 lakh crore on MSP in 2021-22
  • 1118 LMT foodgrains have been allocated to States/UTs so far, with an expenditure of over Rs.3.90 lakh crore.

One Nation-One Ration Card scheme:

  • Launched in aug 2019, aimed at portability of ration cards, piloting in 4 states.
  • Achievements:
  • Till now the scheme has been rolled out in all 36 States/UTs, which includes about 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries i.e. about 100 percent of the country’s NFSA population.
  • More than 93 crore portability transactions have been registered under the scheme, in which more than 177 LMT food grains have been distributed.
  • During the year 2022, 39 crore portability transactions were done in 11 months, in which more than 80 LMT food grains have been distributed including inter-state and intra-state portability transactions of NFSA and PMGKAY.

Fortified rice scheme:

  • To increase the nutritional value of rice and its scop, fortified rice to be provided under all government schemes covering ICDS, PM Poshan and Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)
  • The implementation of the second phase started from April 2022 and the third phase will start from the year 2023-24
  • Achievements:
  • Under ICDS and PM Poshan, 17.51 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice has been distributed and States have taken 16.79 LMT rice.

Achievements of NFSA and TPDS:

  • 100 percent NFSA ration card/beneficiary data has been digitized in all States/UTs.
  • Details of 19.5 crore ration cards covering about 80 crore beneficiaries are available on the transparency portal of the States/UTs.
  • More than 99.5 per cent ration cards are linked with Aadhaar (at least one member of the household).
  • 99.8% (5.33 lakh out of 5.34 lakh) Fair Price Shops are being automated with the use of electronic point-of-sale devices for transparent, assuring distribution of subsidized food grains to the beneficiaries.

Achievements of MSP:

  • Total procurement of food grains (including wheat, paddy and pulses) was 759.44 lakh tonnes in the year 2014-15, which has increased to 1345.45 lakh tonnes in 2021-22.
  • Paddy procurement in Kharif has increased to 759 LMT in 2021-22 (an increase of 60%).
  • There has been an increase of 132 percent in the procurement price in eight years (now the total value is about Rs 1.5 lakh crore).
  • Rabi procurement was 251 LMT in 2013-14, which has increased to 433.44 LMT in 2021-22 (73 percent increase).
  • In the year 2015-16, 78.3 lakh farmers were benefited from the procurement of food grains, which increased to 194 lakh (number of farmers) in the year 2021-22.
  • 13 lakh tonnes of coarse grains have also been procured in 7 states during the year.

Achievements of sugar industry:

  • It is an important agro-based industry, involving 5 crore sugarcane farmers.
  • The annual production is about Rs 1,40,000 crore.
  • In the sugar season 2021-22, India has exported more than 110 LMT sugar and has become the largest producer and second largest exporter of sugar in the world.
  • Out of total cane price arrears of Rs 1,18,271 crore for the sugar season 2021-22, Rs 1,14,981 crore has been cleared to the farmers, thus more than 97% cane arrears have been cleared.
  • Regarding ethanol blending plan in petrol, the government has set a target of 10 per cent blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20 per cent blending by 2025.
  • The existing capacity of ethanol production in the country (till 31.10.2022) has jumped to 925 crore litres.

Challenges of food programmes:

  • Identification of beneficiaries – The 80-crore cap on NFSA beneficiaries and state ration card quotas are based on 2011 census data.
  • Given the projected increase in population since then, about 10 crore eligible people are being excluded from the NFSA’s safety net.
  • In its June 2021 judgement, the Supreme Court directed that the Centre and State should continue providing foodgrains to migrants whether or not they had ration cards.
  • FCI stock – While the stock position of foodgrains in the FCI godowns was very comfortable in 2020, the situation has altered now.
  • There might be a crisis if there is no proper planning and management.
  • As of September 2022, including the estimated rice from unmilled paddy and millets, stocks are just over 60 million tonnes, while the buffer norm for October is about 30 million tonnes.
  • The usual requirements for NFSA and other requirements are about 60 million tonnes per year, and added to this PMGKAY would require about 12 million tonnes more
  • There are apprehensions about paddy production
  • Dietary diversity – While the PDS contributes to providing some cereal security, from the point of view of ensuring nutrition, it is also important to improve people’s consumption of other food items such as pulses and edible oil.
  • Burden on exchequer – As the economy is also reviving and the OMSS [or open market sale scheme] is doing well, extension of scheme can be given a second thought.
  • Data inconsistency –
  • A case study by Microsave Consulting, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted in 88 districts showed an “average of 94% households have received the free ration on monthly basis”
  • However, A survey by the Centre of Sustainable Employment at the Azim Premji University, showed only 27% of the eligible households reported receiving the full benefits under PMGKAY
  • Implementation issues – example in Delhi, distribution has not started in any ration shop.

Way forward:

  • According to UN-India, there are nearly 195 million undernourished people in India, which is a quarter of the world’s hunger burden.
  • Also, roughly 43% of children in India are chronically undernourished. Further, India ranks 68 out of 113 major countries in terms of food security index 2022.
  • Hence, there is immense significance in such food programs. However, focus must be to build permanent capacity of the population to ensure food security.

Source: PIB


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