Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

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Mains: GS II –

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes.
  • Indian Government, at all levels, announces Welfare Schemes for a cross-section of the society from time to time.
  • These schemes could be either Central, State-specific, or a collaboration between the Centre and the States.
  • India is considered to be a welfare state and the Supreme court termed 'welfare state' as an element of the Basic structure.
  • Welfare schemes indicate politics of development.
  • These schemes play a crucial role in solving many socio-economic problems that beset Indian society, and thus their awareness is a must for any concerned citizen.
  • These schemes are more important for vulnerable sections because they experience a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion than the general population.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections


  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA):
    • Government of India's flagship program for the achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time-bound manner, as mandated by the 86th amendment to the Constitution.
    • SSA aims to provide relevant elementary education to all children in the age-group 6 to 14 by ensuring 100% enrolment, cent percent retention of children, quality education, and quality infrastructure facilities in the schools.
    • Various activities include reimbursement of school fees to children’s admission under (RTE) Act, distributing free textbooks, teachers’ salaries, special training for mainstreaming out-of-school children among others.
    • SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments to cover the entire country and address the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations.
    • The program seeks to open new schools in those habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure.
    • SSA has a special focus on girl's education and children with special needs.

  • Mid-day meal scheme:
    • To tackle the problem of hunger, malnutrition, and school drop out.
    • Under this scheme, nutritious food is served in all government schools for school children.
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana:
    • The government of India backed a saving scheme targeted at the parents of girl children.
    • The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for future education and marriage expenses for their female child.

Persons with Disabilities

  • Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan:
    • Accessible India Campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is a program that is launched by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) to serve the differently-able community of the country.
    • The program comes with an index to measure the design of disabled-friendly buildings and human resource policies.
  • Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme:
    • To create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice, and empowerment of persons with disabilities.
    • The approach of this Scheme is to provide financial assistance to voluntary organizations to make available the whole range of services necessary for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
  • Senior citizens:
    •  Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana:
      • This is a scheme offered by the Life insurance Corporation (LIC) of India that gives a guaranteed payout of pension at a specified rate for 10 years.
      • It also offers a death benefit in the form of the return of purchase price to the nominee.
    • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:
      • It is a scheme for providing physical aids and Assisted Living Devices for Senior Citizens belonging to the BPL category.
      • The Scheme is being implemented through the “Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)”, a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of SJ&E, as the sole Implementing Agency. 


  •  Swadhar Greh Scheme:
    • Implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development
    • For rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances. 
    • The scheme covers women who are deserted and without any social and economic support, women victims of domestic violence, family tension, and natural disaster.
  • Universalization of Women Helpline Scheme:
    • Envisaged to provide 24 hours emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence, both in public and private spaces by linking them with appropriate authorities such as police, One Stop Centres, hospital, and legal services. 
  • One-Stop Centre Scheme:
    • One-Stop Centres for violence-affected women across the country as part of the Nirbhaya Framework, are established with the help of States/UTs for providing legal and psycho-social counseling along with other facilities including temporary shelter, police facilitation, and medical support to the women needing the same under one roof in an integrated manner. 


  • The Centre had constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons to formulate policies, programs, and draft legislation for the community for achieving equality and full participation by them.
  • A Scheme for Promotion of Transgender Equality & Justice(SWEEKRUTI):
    • The Government of Odisha formulated an umbrella scheme ‘Sweekruti’ to secure the rights of transgender persons and ensure equitable justice.
    • It recognizes that transgender persons are subject to discrimination and hardships in society.
    • The main objectives of the scheme are to create an enabling environment for transgender persons, ensure their participation and social integration, strengthen the implementation of various schemes and facilities, and promote measures for employment and socio-educational services for transgender persons.


    • The major objective of MGNREGS is to enhance employment opportunities and increase wage rates to provide livelihood security for the poor, vulnerable and marginalized leading to a reduction of poverty in rural areas.
    • The data from 2015-16 tells us that about 22 percent of the households depended on MGNREGA as a source of income.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana:
    • The financial inclusion program of the Government of India open to Indian citizens, which aims to expand affordable access to financial services such as bank accounts, remittances, credit, insurance, and pensions.

  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana:
    • Flagship scheme of the Government of India to extend affordable credit to micro and small enterprises.

  • Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana:
    • To provide free access to healthcare for 40% of people in the country.
    • PMJAY aims to provide healthcare to 10.74 crore poor families.
    • Aims to help economically vulnerable Indians who require healthcare facilities.

Street vendors

  • PM Street Vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi):
  • To empower street vendors by not only extending loans to them but also for their holistic development and economic upliftment.


  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana:
    • Aims to provide houses for the homeless.
    • The government is offering this scheme to all UTs and states.
    • It also offers an interest subsidy for home loans for first-time buyers in urban areas.


  • National Social Assistance Programme:
    • It is a welfare program being administered by the Ministry of Rural Development.
    • This program is being implemented in rural areas as well as urban areas.
    • Provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • Various state governments also announce their own pension scheme.
  • PM-KISAN Scheme:
    • PM Kisan is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% funding from the Government of India.
    • Under the scheme, income support of 6,000/- per year in three equal installments will be provided to small and marginal farmer families having combined landholding/ownership of up to 2 hectares.
    • The fund will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
Performance of the welfare schemes


  • Basic amenities and infrastructure of many government-run schools were improved through Rashtriya Madhyama, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, and Samagra Siskhana schemes of the Centre. 
  • 10cr children are fed through the mid-day meal scheme every day, which increased their nutritional outcomes and reduced drop-out rates.
  • Cash assistance in the form of PM-KISAN will help low-income families to support their household income and attain self-sufficiency.
  • Government economic security programs such as food assistance, housing subsidies, and working-family tax credits — which bolster income, help families afford basic needs and keep millions of children above the poverty line.
  • There are also longer-term benefits: they help children to do better in school and increase their earning power in their adult years.
  • Economic security programs can blunt the negative effects of poverty and bring poor children closer to equal opportunity.
  • Health insurance schemes have been found to improve health outcomes at birth and extend longevity.
  • Economic security programs help low-paid or out-of-work families afford the goods and services a child may need to thrive — whether it be nutritious food, a safe home, and neighbourhood, transportation.
  • Schemes like Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana can help girls acquire financial security and financial independence.
  • The government adequately tackled several diseases such as polio, malaria, and HIV when the target was well-publicized and clear.


  • Beneficiary identification:
    • Use of SECC 2011 data which does not truly reflect the ground reality.
    • Sometimes, those in need are left out.
    • The lapses in Beneficiary identification, due to inclusion and exclusion errors.
    • Thus many poor are excluded and many rich attain benefits.
  • The inefficiency of executives:
    • The reason for inefficiency can be attributed to improper monitoring, lack of accountability, corruption, and misalignment of incentives.
    • Many scams and irregularities have come up in the implementation of schemes.
    • Lack of policy implementation, diversion of funds, and the failure of monitoring mechanisms.
    • Not involving stakeholders in the policy monitoring process.
    • Lack of awareness about schemes and their benefits.
  • Infrastructural issues:
    • Lack of adequate facilities across sectors like health, education, transport, etc further deteriorates the chances of success of welfare schemes.
  • Political bias in schemes:
    • Certain schemes are announced considering the political gains and not overall national interest.
    • For example, farm loan waivers across states were criticized by bankers as such practices are not good for the country’s credit culture.
    • Most welfare Schemes have been mainly centered on individual beneficiaries rather than on integrated development.
  • Shortage of funds with state governments:
    • 2/3rd of all government expenditure happens at the state or local government level, 
    • But they have only 1/3rd of revenue-raising autonomy. 
  • Underutilization of funds:
    • Due to the lack of proper plans and implementation mechanisms the funds allocated often remain underutilized.
    • For example, Tamil Nadu State Finance Audit Report 2019 revealed that the School Education Department has surrendered a total of Rs 1,627 crore in 2018-19 due to non-implementation of various schemes under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. 
    • The report on breaking up the funds returned revealed that the State government did not utilize and returned Rs 894 crore meant for developing infrastructure of the schools under the SSA scheme. 
  • Current economic policies of the government:
    • Largely influenced by globalization and capitalism, are not in conformity with its welfare obligations.
    • The skewed policies relating to the expansion of capitalism, the forceful acquisition of lands from poor peasants, and neglect for the development of agriculture and rural development reflect the above statement.
    • The small scale industries have been devastated by the impact of neo-liberal policies.
    • The agriculture sector is neglected from the focus of economic development
  • Inequalities:
    • On the one hand, the economy is growly very fast but its benefit is confined to 10-15% population.
    • The rich-poor divide is increasing continuously
    • The regional disparities have been increased substantially.
Way forward
  • Need to change the economic policies with a focussed plan both in terms of expenditure and implementation.
  • The policies are made in ministries but implemented at the state, district, and village levels. Hence, there is a need to strengthen grassroots governance.
  • Also, proper feedback should be channelized to the policymakers to modify the systemic flaws.
  • The need of the hour is to simplify procedures, incentivize performance, reduce red-tape, and make the best use of technology to achieve the desired goals.
  • A similar type of central and state schemes can be merged, to ensure better convergence and avoid leakage.
  • All the major welfare programs need to be gender-sensitive.
  • The government must ensure that no eligible beneficiary is left out and those who don't require must be removed, by using technology like AI, big data, etc.
  • Human development could be achieved only when the fruits of welfare schemes reach eligible beneficiaries.
  • India could see growth in many aspects only when the eligible beneficiaries were able to reap the benefits of the welfare scheme introduced by the Union and State governments.

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