Budget shifts focus to healthcare, LPG; nothing new for farmers

This marks a shift from last year’s focus on agriculture, wherein a massive ₹75,000 crore was announced for farmers just before Lok Sabha elections

show cause notice, AIIMS, coronavirus, COVID-19, Lockdown, Lockdown 4.0
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting hundreds of people in the national capital, AIIMS had to shut down its OPD services in March'20 | PTI Photo

Narendra Modi government’s flagship schemes were marked by chequered performances despite the grand announcements and massive allocations in the last term, as was revealed in the revised estimates of the budget this year.

Going by this, the government has given a major boost to its flagship healthcare scheme, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), in the budget, increasing the allocation to ₹6,020 crore for 2020-21, up from the ₹4,000 crore for 2019-20.

This marks a shift from last year’s focus on agriculture, with the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN), that saw a massive ₹75,000 crore being announced just before the Lok Sabha elections.

The Federal takes a look at five major schemes and their performance in the last year.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN)

Despite the huge allocation, only 73% of farmers were given the dole as on February 2 and ₹20,629 crore remained unspent, as per the revised estimate of Budget 2019-20.

States like Uttar Pradesh (2.01cr), Maharashtra (89.49 lakhs) and Andhra Pradesh (51.54 lakhs) recorded the maximum number of beneficiaries. No farmer in West Bengal received any of the instalments till February 2.

The new fund allocation continues to remain at ₹75,000 crore for 2020-21.

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)

This flagship scheme of the Modi government aims to provide affordable and reliable healthcare services across the country. Under this scheme, the government overspent the allocation by ₹733 crore in the current fiscal, necessitating the ₹2,020 crore increase in allocations for the next year.

Construction of AIIMS hospitals in various cities is one of the major objectives of this scheme. Out of the 22 proposed AIIMS, six are currently functional in Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. Twelve others are under construction while the rest are still at preliminary stages of approval.

Besides the AIIMS, the scheme also plans to construct 75 medical colleges. Of these, 43 have been completed while the rest are under construction in various cities across the country.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

Another grand plan of the BJP government, PMAY aims to provide affordable housing to citizens under two sections — Urban and Rural (or Gramin).

A total of 43.2 lakh houses — 11.15 lakh Gramin and 32.07 lakh Urban — were completed in 2019-20.

Almost 100% of the allotted ₹27,500 crore were utilised under the scheme.

The government has claimed that more than 1 crore houses have been built under the scheme in the last five years.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

Launched during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, this road connectivity scheme spent ₹14,000 crore of the ₹19,000 crore allotted in 2019-20. Only a third of the targeted 50,097 kilometres, that is 15,288 kilometres, was completed.

This has brought about just a marginal hike of 2.6% for the scheme in the budget allocation. The current outlay for the scheme stands at ₹19,500 crore.

Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBT LPG)

Hailed by the Prime Minister as a scheme that lighted up homes of the poor, this scheme ensures direct transfer of subsidy for LPG gas.

The outlay for 2019-20 was ₹29,500 crore while the government spent ₹127 crore extra. Current allocation has seen a 20% rise to ₹35,605 crore for 2020-21.

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