Seven schemes for poor in 17,000 villages in 21 days

NEW DELHI: The Modi government is set to announce a major initiative targeting 17,000 villages under seven schemes aimed at delivering free LPG connections, electricity supply, LED bulbs, Jan Dhanaccounts, two PM insurance schemes and immunisation of children in a time period of 21 days.

The “Gram Swaraj Abhiyan — special interventions” were discussed threadbare through detailed presentations at the meeting of the Union council of ministers on Wednesday and are intended to signal a strong “pro-poor” push in the backdrop of attacks on the government over issues such as farm distress and “dilution” of Dalit rights.

The plan will be implemented in 484 districts in 33 states and union territories. The maximum villages are in states like UP, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Meghalaya. The aim to ensure total coverage is ambitious but intended to show case the government’s determination to deliver welfare benefits to the poor.

It is in line with rural development schemes like “Antyodaya” based on principle of “convergence and saturation” and the current initiative will aim 100% coverage under the schemes for eligible beneficiaries in the three-week window from April 15 to May 5. The government and BJP are also set to observe the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar on April 14 through several commemorative functions.

PM Modi has asked ministers to engage in a major outreach programme while the Centre has appointed dozens of directors and deputy secretaries to push its flagship programmes to “100% saturation” in the rural areas. The focussed, high intensity drive is intended to deliver welfare programmes in select villages which are seen to be in need of special attention.

Half a dozen secretaries made detailed presentations before the ministers.

[ Apr 12, 2018]