BJP sets early deadlines for central schemes before 2019-LS electionsLast updated on Mar 25, 2018, 01:05 am
To reap electoral benefits in 2019 parliamentary elections, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has set early deadlines for implementing key central schemes.
Welfare schemes related to the farm and rural sector are being given more importance, considering the high level of agrarian distress.
Ministries are pushing states to speed up implementation of proposals unveiled in the Union Budget.
Here's more about it.
What has the Centre asked of the state governments?
Notably, in the Mukhyamantri Parishad of 19 states held this month, PM Modi directed CMs to ensure central welfare schemes for weaker sections in rural areas are implemented on priority-basis.
Taking this forward, finance ministry asked ministries to track states that received money from the Centre for implementing specific schemes.
States are supposed to submit plans, ensuring that money disbursed is spent appropriately.
Centre has also undertaken an "unprecedented" step
Moreover, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh reportedly held a video conference with all chief secretaries and principal secretaries in-charge of agriculture. They were asked to submit their annual agriculture-sector action plans for 2018-19 by April 15.
The government will roll-out funds within 10 days of receiving proposals.
Notably, last year, the first installments were delayed and allocated only in July.
Why is the government keen about focusing on agri-related schemes?
Though agriculture contributes only 13.7% of India's GDP, it employs two-thirds of its population.
This indicates low productivity. Last year, farm distress despite bumper production had triggered protests in states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Thus, government attempted a course correction in Budget'18, announcing that it would double farmers' income by 2022.
MSP paid to farmers was also fixed at 50% more than the production cost.
Now, what steps does the government plan to take?
Considering rural distress, the government's budget for FY19 raised allocations for the farm ministry by 14.5%.
Further, government plans to focus on completion of five "core" schemes: Krishi Unnati Scheme and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana for agricultural development, White Revolution for improving milk production, Blue Revolution for better fisheries and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana for providing irrigation facilities to all farmers.
What does this say about BJP's politics?
BJP has the image of being pro-middle class. But, as PM Modi makes a bid for re-election, he is anxious to court India's largest constituents: farmers. This explains the high importance given to agriculture-related schemes and their fast execution.
Gujarat elections'17 may have had a lot to do with BJP's decision. Though the party wrested power there, it fared poorly in the rural areas.