A 31-member commission set up by the ministry of Rural Development to carry out an independent assessment of the various schemes and programmes of the ministry has found that the schemes providing rural connectivity, employment guarantee and housing for poor - the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Pradhan Mantri AwaasYojana-Grameen (PMAY-G) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) - are among the best performing flagship programmes in the rural sector. However, the performance of several other schemes were very poor, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project - one of the first to be launched after he took charge in 2014 - the model village scheme or the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).
On MGNREGS, the report of the fifth Common Review Commission 2019 expressed overall satisfaction and said that the scheme has been successful in providing wage employment to the rural households and creating durable assets. However, the commission recommended a study to understand why the number of days of work per household is less than half of the entitlement despite a clear articulation of demand for more job from the beneficiaries. A demand for increase in MGNREGS wages has also been flagged. While there were less complaints of delay in wage payment, delay in payment for the material component, impacting the quality of the work, was highlighted as a common concern.The commission also wanted the government to ensure that the scheme includes asset creation for the landless too.
On PMAY-G, the commission found that the overall numbers have been impressive. Of the 1 crore houses that were to be constructed during the first phase (2016-19), 97.9 lakhs were sanctioned and 84.8 lakh houses completed. The problem was that of exclusion of eligible households. In some states the delay in land allotment was a cause of concern.
The scheme to build village roads, PMGSY, is also among the ones that have managed to achieve its targets in a big way. In the first phase, all habitations with population of more than 500 were targeted for connectivity. The commission says that 97 per cent of the target has been achieved. The second phase, which was meant to upgrade 50,000 roads met 72 per cent target. The phase III, launched in 2019, is still in the planning stage, the commission noted. One concern that has been flagged is the maintenance of roads that are more than five-year old. In many states, the quality of such roads was less than satisfactory, the commissioned observed.
However, SAGY, the scheme launched to leverage the leadership, capacity, commitment and energy of the member of the Parliament at the gram panchayat level to provide better infrastructure and service delivery to villagers has failed to make any perceptible impact. In any of the SAGY villages money from the MP's Local Area Development Scheme did not flow in. The commission concludes that the adopted villages cannot be called model villages and the ministry may have to review the scheme for enhancing its impact.
The fifth Common Review Commission 2019 was headed by retired IAS officer Rajeev Kapoor with members drawn from academia, research organisations, and other experts. The Commission visited over 120 villages in 21 districts to review the major schemes.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
POSITIVE - Largely satisfactory. Community and individual assets are being created.
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - No asset creation specifically for the landless. Better framework and planning needed to exploit the full potential of convergence of various schemes
Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood (NRLM)
POSITIVE - initiated individual and group economic activities for livelihood
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Activities mostly centered around local requirements and are at the low rung of the economic spectrum. Unlikely to impact livelihood issues significantly
Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Grameen (PMAY-G)
POSITIVE - One crore houses target in the 2016-19 phase, 97.9 lakh sanctioned, 84.8 lakhs completed
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Many eligible households are missing from the list. The SECC data has both inclusion and exclusion errors
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
POSITIVE - 97% of all rural habitations with population more than 500 connected by roads
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Maintanence of roads is a concern
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalaya Yojana (DDU-GKY)
POSITIVE - There is progress in states like Kerala and Odisha to train rural BPL youth and turn them employable
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Not satisfactory performance in several states, drop out rates are very high
Rural Self Employment Training Institute (RSETI)
POSITIVE - Physical infrastructure development is good
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Use of infrastructure to impact training for skills for self employment is poor
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
POSITIVE - Providing social security to aged persons, widows, disabled persons can be of great help
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Cases of exclusion a concern, delays in payments, poor bank coverage are problems
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)
POSITIVE - The idea to leverage leadership, capacity, commitment and energy of the Member of the Parliament (MP) at the gram panchayat level to provide better infrastructure and service delivery is good
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Only in isolated cases it has made impact. Ministry may review the scheme as it has failed to create "Model" villages
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (RURBAN)
POSITIVE - 296 rurban clusters have been approved and 167 draft project reports (DPRs) have been finalised. critical gap funding of Rs 6846 have been approved
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - Implementation is a long drawn process and project formulation capabilities required for the scheme is not available at the district level
Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), Mission Antyodaya
POSITIVE - Effectively done in Kerala with participation of line departments
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED - concept not properly understood and implemented in most states. Unrealistic plans that read like wish lists