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India

Govt’s Gram Swaraj Abhiyan extends welfare plans’ reach

NEW DELHI: The Modi government’s governance push through concentrated campaigns to increase penetration of welfare schemes seems to be paying off, with a significant jump in cooking gas and household electricity connections besides Jan Dhan accounts while also revealing weaknesses for corrective action.

The mission mode Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and extended GSA between April and August this year saw an acceleration in Ujjwala connections which went up from 19,09,546 issued in the month the campaign began to 38,08,303 connections in the last month.

Similarly, electricity connections under Saubhagya rose from 10,00,154 in April to 32,47,679 in August when the special campaign drew to a close. The third party audit on the campaign revealed vulnerabilities such as inadequacies in the distribution network resulting in 5,000 new distributors being planned.

Problems with e-KYC were identified and tackled through alternative verification and exclusion registers. Under Saubhagya, the scheme intended to deliver electricity connections, GSA saw 81% of villages and 79% of households being “saturated” or targets achieved.



Totally, in the two campaigns, 51,168 villages and 32 lakh households were given a power connection while the challenges faced were in terms of distribution materials, rural electrification corporation interventions and release of additional funds, according to an official presentation. The programme to distribute LED bulbs was a major success with 99% villages and 100% households being covered under the extended GSA.

In all, 68 lakh bulbs were distributed. Jan Dhan bank accounts for the poor, a key pillar of the government’s financial inclusion programmes, saw 63,175 villages and 73 lakh beneficiaries being covered while the strategy of sending officials to remote areas uncovered problems in coordination at district level and the need to depute senior bank officers.

The PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, the government-backed insurance scheme, has suffered from lack of awareness and people have found the schedule of premiums to be inconvenient. This time, the scheme offered quarterly premiums and the GSA and extended GSA resulted in 50 lakh target beneficiaries being covered. The accident insurance scheme was also benefitted by a camp approach and 89 lakh beneficiaries were covered.

The vaccination programme saw 1.3 lakh women and 4.6 lakh infants being covered and the feedback showed that “Mission Indradhanush” is achieving good results.With a focus on nutrition being added to the health and sanitation schemes, awareness programmed were held in 1,2 lakh villages.
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