Social infrastructure and welfare distribution system put in place in Narendra Modi-government’s first term may help take economic relief benefits door-to-door.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s mega economic relief package to provide cash, free ration and LPG cylinders to crores of people may seem ambitious, but the social infrastructure and welfare distribution system put in place in Narendra Modi-government’s first term may help take these benefits door-to-door. At a time when it may seem difficult to take the benefits announced under the Rs 1.7 lakh crore coronavirus relief package to the people quickly, Narendra Modi’s Jan Dhan Yojana and Ujjwala Yojana may help the plan with a chance of reasonable success. One of the reasons why experts believe that the implementation of today’s measures will be less challenging is because the support is only additional and no new infrastructure is required for its fulfillment.
“As most of these measures are going to be working on existing channels of the government, one can expect relatively quick delivery of most of them, as against newer schemes,” Madhavi Arora, Economist, Edelweiss, told Financial Express Online. Amid the countrywide lockdown in India, the fate of many daily wage earners and poor families has turned gloomy. “What will be very important is to properly implement and make sure that the aid reaches the targeted population. The mechanisms put in place over the last few years including the Jan Dhan accounts, will help ensure this,” said Rumki Majumdar, Economist, Deloitte India.
Considering the urgency, quick implementation of the measures announced will play a major role amid coronavirus scare. FM Sitharaman has announced that under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 5 kg rice or wheat will be given free for the next three months. Besides, a 1 kg pulse will also be given for free to nearly 80 crore people. Apart from it, the minister has also announced that the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will get free LPG cylinders for the next three months.
“Both are essential services, thus they will continue. On the flip side, congestion on roads will not be there and even goods trains can run faster. Hence, the movement will be faster,” Sameer Narang, Chief Economist, Bank of Baroda.
However, for smooth and fair transmission of the benefits, control rooms in almost every district will have to be set up for monitoring. “The implementation is going to be challenging in reaching the foodgrains to around 6 lakh Fair Price Shops and making it to households covering 80 crore population in the background of immobility due to countrywide lockdowns,” Hari Hara Mishra, Policy commentator, told Financial Express Online. In the lockdown phase, there has to be monitoring with a control room in each of 720 districts to ensure the successful implementation of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana announced today, he added.