By Devanik Saha
Speeding up financial inclusion, toilets in every school, reducing LPG subsidy and electrification of villages were some of the key promises made by Modi during his second Independence Day Speech on August 15, 2015. FactChecker reviewed the implementation of the key announcements he made, as we did previously for his 2014 speech.
1. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: More than 228 million bank accounts opened as on August 3, 2016, an increase of 31 per cent from 174 million in 2015 — 24 per cent of these accounts had no money, a reduction of 22 per cent from 2015. The balance in the accounts increased 85 per cent over one year, from Rs 22,033 crore to Rs 40,795 crore.
The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had opened more than 50 million “no-frills” accounts — as they called them — for the poor over five years, but most were never used, IndiaSpend reported in October 2014.
2. Swacch Vidyalaya Abhiyan: Claim of 100 per cent separate toilets for boys & girls in all schools not true
Random checks across seven states revealed widespread infirmities, such as:
* Many schools, from urban New Delhi to backward, often remote, areas, did not have toilets. The specific claim that every school now has separate toilets for boys and girls in all schools was not true.
* Existing toilets in schools — either already built or new — do not have water or are not maintained, making them useless.
* Newly built toilets could not be used because in the rush to build them, no drainage was constructed.
* The campaign aimed at constructing 417,000 toilets in 262,000 schools, or 1.5 toilets per school. One or two toilets per school is not quite enough.
* Educating children in using toilets has proved to be as important as building them. The construction of toilets has been so rushed that various stakeholders do not appear to have had time to understand the importance of the mission and implement it in full measure.
3. Give it Up: 10.4 million have given up LPG subsidy voluntarily, 1.76 million women get free gas connections
4. LPG subsidy saving 10 per cent of claim made by govt: Rs 2,000 crore not Rs 20,000 crore, says auditor
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also found systemic problems with cash transfers — called Pahal — of LPG subsidy, including diversion of domestic subsidy for commercial use and commercial LPG being used in homes.
The subsidy discrepancy mostly stems from a fall in the global price of LPG imported, the CAG report said.
5. Electricity to villages: Govt says 98.1 per cent electrified, but electricity supply suspect
What happened: As many as 587,569 of 597,464 villages (98.1%) in India were “electrified” as on June 30, 2016, which means only 9,895 do not have electricity, according to a recent report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
A village being declared “electrified” does not mean a household will get electricity, FactChecker reported in November 2015.
“The first threshold for electrification should be at least 50 per centof homes in a coverage area (i.e., the majority),” according to Rahul Tongia, Fellow at Brookings Institution, and Advisor to the Smart Grid Task Force of the central government.
Actual electricity is important — and that there should be no power cuts-to achieve meaningful electrification, Tongia wrote in this column in The Hindu on October 7, 2014.
An investigation of rural electrification data by The Hindu found that the number of villages said to be electrified in the last year is exaggerated.
6. Social security: 127 million people enrolled for three major programmes
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has been given to 2.7 million, Prime Minister’s Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) to 94.5 million and Prime Minister’s Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) to 29.7 million citizens as on June 14 2016, according to official data.
More recent data tabled in the parliament indicates that 3.04 million Indians have registered under APY as on July 20, 2016.
7. Rural India: Agriculture budget increased by 44 per cent — from Rs 24,909 crore ($4 billion) in 2015-16 to Rs 35,984 crore ($5 billion) in 2016-17, to address growing distress in rural areas from successive monsoon failures — and several rural programmes launched
But, 5 per cent of farmers still control 32 per cent of India’s farmland and a “large” farmer in India has 45 times more land than a “marginal” farmer, IndiaSpend reported in May 2016.
The land that can be farmed has marginally declined, from 182.5 million hectares in 2008-09 to 182 million hectares in 2012-13, mainly for non-agricultural purposes, such as urbanisation, roads, industries and housing, according to data tabled in parliament.
8. One Rank One Pension for service personnel: Approved, but protests continue
Modi approved the OROP proposal in April 2016. It will cost the government an additional Rs 7,488 in annual pensions and Rs 10,925 crore in arrears.
As many as 1.6 million pensioners were paid their first pensions through the OROP programme; Rs 2,861 crore was spent until March 31, 2016. Certain issues and anomalies have been raised by servicemen, which a government panel is considering.
(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform, of which FactChecker is a part. Devanik Saha is a freelance journalist. The views expressed are those of IndiaSpend.) IANS.