Economic Survey favours revamping MNREGA, NRHM, and SSA; reforming food market

09 July 2014

The Economic Survey discusses the need for revamping some of the social sector schemes such as MNREGA, NRHM, SSA, etc as the outlays for the different schemes have not often translated fully into outcomes owing to the poor delivery mechanism.

Leveraging modern technology for efficient delivery of programmes, removing the multiple layers of governance, simplifying procedures, and greater participatory role by the beneficiaries can help in creating a better delivery mechanism, it states.

There is a need for greater degree of accessibility to information for the public, especially about the role, rights, and entitlements of the PRIs.

Focused attention on raising the awareness levels and capacity-building activities at gram sabha level and devolution of powers in real terms, ie, funds, function, and functionaries to the PRIs will lead to better and more effective planning, execution, monitoring and social audit of panchayat centric programmes, according to the survey.

The survey also calls for reforming the food market. Restrictions on farmers to buy, sell and store their produce to customers across the country and the world imposed by Indian laws enacted in the 1950s and 60s have not been removed, even though restrictions on industry were removed long ago.

Restoring economic freedom of farmers and allowing them to be part of a competitive national market is essential for controlling food inflation. There is a huge opportunity today for Indian agriculture to be transformed through creation of markets and well as state intervention in public goods such as rural infrastructure and training as well as setting up modern regulatory frameworks for warehousing and commodity futures, according to the survey.

The government needs to eventually move towards income support for farmers and poor households, so that market forces are able to respond to changes in consumption and technology.

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