Nation Current Affairs 20 Jan 2016 Social sector to be ...

Social sector to be focused in Budget

DECCAN CHRONICLE | ANIMESH SINGH
Published Jan 20, 2016, 2:13 am IST
Updated Jan 20, 2016, 2:13 am IST
PMO issues directive to Niti Aayog
PM Modi
 PM Modi

New Delhi: Despite being in power almost two years, there is a sense of unfulfilment in the NDA government over the not-so-satisfactory progress in the social sector.

Top sources indicated the Prime Minister’s Office is unhappy that not much work has been done in this sector. In the coming financial year, therefore, its entire focus is going to be on the social sector, and the Union Budget for 2016-17 is likely to have several proposals on fields like health, education, social justice as well as women and child development. The PMO has given directors to the Niti Aayog in this regard.

 

The sources told this newspaper preliminary discussions had begun within higher levels of the government on these lines.

The PMO’s thinking is though reasonable success has been achieved in removing infrastructure bottlenecks, more needs to be done in the social sector.

While nothing is official so far, in the offing are a slew of measures like a universal social protection scheme which could be contributory in nature.

It may be an umbrella scheme with benefits for widows, pensioners and jobless youth, all rolled into one.

The main focus will be on consolidation of various social schemes that are similar in nature, and are now run by ministries like tribal affairs, women & child development, health, social justice and rural development, among others.

 

There are now several schemes like widow and old age pensions, sops for the unemployed and scholarships for the underprivileged.

These are run by various ministries and therefore a universal social protection scheme will help address the needs of all these ministries, the sources said.

Also, departments that have overlapping roles could be merged, with sources hinting the WCD Ministry could be merged with health in line with the NDA government’s dictum of “minimum government, maximum governance”.

This will ensure synergy among departments with a similar mandate, that in turn will ensure decision-making becomes smoother and implementation faster.

 

Both health and WCD ministries have similar mandates, such as both need Aangawadi data, but in many cases it has been found the WCD Ministry doesn’t share it with the health ministry.

To prevent such one-upmanship and overlap of functions, serious thought is being given to the merge these two ministries.

The PMO is learnt to have directed the Niti Aayog and all key social sector ministries to keep all these aspects in mind while working out a consolidated roadmap for the social sector, that would be implemented in the next year.

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Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi




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