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Welfare spending has been getting a regular pruning

  • Published
    13th May, 2023


This year’s Union Budget was criticised by experts over a decline in allocations for welfare schemes in real terms, at a time of post-COVID-19 recovery when welfare spending should have been a priority.

Decline in welfare spending

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan: The Anganwadi programme (ICDS) was merged with POSHAN Abhiyaan and a nutrition scheme for adolescent girls. Even with more components, its allocation went down from 0.13% of GDP in 2014-15 to 0.07% in 2023-24.
  • Mid-day Meal Scheme: Scheme has led to an improvement in class attendance, learning as well as nutritional outcomes. However, the Budget allocation for MDM decreased by 50% as a share of GDP, from 0.08% in 2014-15 to 0.04% in 2023-2024.
  • PM Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): To cover all women and births as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA) mandate, the PMMVY needs around ?14,000 crore, but the PMMVY Budget is yet to cross ?3,000 crore.

Other Issues

  • Migrant workers: MGNREGA expenditure as a share of GDP went from 0.26% in 2014-15 to 0.20% in 2023-24. For NFSA it went to 0.65% this year from 0.94% in 2014-15.
  • Stagnant HDI: India Human Development Index is stagnant at rank of 132 and rising malnutrition levels. It is difficult for India to be a superpower with an uneducated and unhealthy population.
  • Social security: According to the World Social Protection Report by the ILO, only 24.8% of Indians are covered by at least one social security scheme against the Asia-Pacific average of 44%.
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