Parliament Diary

PRS Parliament Diary: Budget Session – Day 1: January 31, 2019

The Budget Session of Parliament began today. This is the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha. Today, the President addressed both Houses. He outlined the major policy achievements of the government. Some highlights from the address are:

  • During the last four and a half years, the economy of the country has been growing at a rate of 7.3% on an average. India’s contribution to the world GDP was 2.6% in 2014, it has increased to 3.3% in 2017 as per latest reports.
     
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, 21 crore individuals belonging to low-income groups have been provided with insurance coverage.
     
  • As a result of expansion in Direct Benefit Transfer in the last four and a half years, more than Rs 6.05 lakh crore have been directly transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
     
  • Through demonetization, the registration of 3.3 lakh dubious shell companies responsible for flow of black money have been annulled.
     
  • Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, more than 9 crore toilets have been constructed. The coverage of rural sanitation, which was less than 40% in 2014, has increased to 98%.
     
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, out of the 15 crore Mudra loans have been provided, 73% of these have been disbursed to women entrepreneurs.
     
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, a target to provide road connectivity to every village by 2019 has been set. More than 82% villages have been connected by roads, as compared to 56% villages in 2014.
     
  • Crop insurance is being provided to farmers at low premiums under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to safeguard them from potential crises due to crop damage.

Given that today’s address comes at the end of this government’s term, we examine the status of some key policy initiatives announced by the current government, that have been highlighted in previous speeches.

Some highlights:

Policy Priority stated in President’s Addresses 2014-2018

Current Status

Measures to deal with corruption, black money and counterfeit currency will be introduced

 

 

Demonetisation:  On November 8, 2016, the Government announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018was passed in July, 2018. 

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for a majority of people.  For holistic development of the agricultural sector, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched in 2016

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):  PMFBY was launched with the aim of providing insurance coverage and financial support to farmers in the event of crop failure.  The number of farmers enrolled under the scheme declined from 5.7 crore in 2016-17 to 5.2 crore in 2017-18.

During 2016-17, total claims amounting to Rs 15,350 crore were paid to 1.4 crore farmers under PMFBY.  These claims were paid against premiums worth Rs 22,550 crore, of which 19% was contributed by farmers.

Poor sanitation weakens the economic wherewithal of a poor household.  The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to ensure health and sanitation. 

Swachh Bharat Mission: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched on October 2, 2014 to achieve a clean and open defecation free India.  It has two components: SBM Urban and SBM Rural.

Under SBM Urban, as of January 29, 2019, 24,130 individual household toilets have been constructed.Under SBM Gramin, as of January 30, 2019, 919 lakh individual household toilets have been constructed (98.81% of target).

The government has continuously worked for reforms of labour laws.  Minimum wages have increased by more than 40%

 

In 2017, the central government increased minimum wages by 40% through a gazette notification.  Minimum wages (per day) for non-agricultural workers increased from Rs 250 to Rs 350 for unskilled workers and Rs 523 for skilled workers

The government is committed to providing affordable and accessible healthcare to all its citizens, particularly the vulnerable groups.

Ayushmaan Bharat: In the General Budget 2018-19, the Government announced two major initiatives in health sector as a part of the Ayushman Bharat program.  These were: Health and Wellness Centresand the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)

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