The Indian Government has always been an exquisite array of Social Welfare Schemes and Public Policies, with its crests and troughs. In the recent Indian Political Scenario, it is popularly believed; that it is the Social Schemes clad BJP’s 2014-2019 term that flagged their victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
While ‘Gandhian Socialism’ slowly slipped out of Bharatiya Janata Party’s overt Manifesto, luckily the word ‘Social’ stayed. Indeed, the first term of the Modi-government administration flourished with remarkable flagship schemes such as Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Jan Dhan Yojana, to name a few. Not only did they succeed in bringing outstanding turnouts but they also redefined the term ‘Social Welfare Schemes’ in Indian politics. With vikaas touching millions of people, BJP has left its citizens wanting more in its current tenure (2019- 2024).
Currently, the government offers 439 subsidy schemes that involve direct money transfers. About Rs 33,314 crore (as per government data) were transferred in the year 2019-2020. Along with the great success of the Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was a Boom as well. Declaring rural India to be open defecation free last October, on Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, PM Modi said that the mission had created around 7.5 million jobs. The reason for this success is partially assigned to the fact that the Center advertised building toilets as a social issue and not as an infrastructural requirement.
BJP’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ ( Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) chant has definitely reverberated around all the walls of development and welfare, for Modi- government’s welfare schemes have tried to reach many dimensions of welfare. Frequently, the government has been spotted relying on many creative schemes such as sharing PM’s social media handles with extraordinary women of the nation on International Women’s Day (to foster women empowerment) and lighting diyas for 9-minutes during the pandemic to promote unity.
Oftentimes, the government has been spotted encouraging the youth to participate in building the nation via various schemes. Be it the National Service Scheme that has been in place for years or the internship programs under SBM, Internship Scheme NITI Aayog, etc, the government has immensely helped in the development of the youth. Moreover, the government has also enabled many students- run social programs and Not-for-Profit Organisations such as Teens of God.
However, as many times as critics have called out Modi- government for using Social Media for theatrics, they’ve also scathingly attacked the relevance of the BJP-led center’s welfare schemes on the ground level. Data has also pointed out the prevalence of the scope of better targeting of benefits for minorities.
Indeed, just launching schemes is not enough!