Helping Markets and States Work for Development

Owner: Jay Chaudhuri

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Scheme Briefs

Examining flagship centrally sponsored schemes

Budget of India for 2010-11, CDF released the first four scheme briefs on February 26, 2010: Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), providing thematic insight in to the issues of early child care and development, school feeding, sustainable livelihood generation, and universalising primary education, respectively.

ICDS is the only programme that addresses the health and nutrition concerns of children under the age of six. Yet, malnutrition is responsible for approximately 50 percent of child deaths in India. The National family Health Survey – 3 (2005-06) statistics reveal that only a marginal decline has been observed in the number of stunted and underweight children.

MDM aims to boost the goal of universalising primary education by improving enrolment, attendance and retention of children from levels one to five. Currently the largest feeding programme in the world, it has been in operation for more than three decades. However, there is no reliable system for data collection, thus making it impossible to measure impact of the programme.

NREGS has the objective to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed minimum wage employment to adult members willing to do unskilled manual work. It thus, acts as a safety net to vulnerable sections of households and an impetus for the development of a vibrant agricultural economy.  It has several unique features such as minimum wages and unemployment allowances but the lack of training to gram panchayats has adversely affected its implementation. The success of the programme also hinges on awareness of the people and their involvement in planning, delivery, and monitoring.

SSA aims to provide universal access to elementary education to children aged six to fourteen years. After four years of the launch of the scheme and with more than 85 percent of the funds spent, 40 percent of  children remain out of school. The deadline for achieving universal primary education was extended from 2010 to 2012.

CDF is optimistic that policymakers, practitioners and citizens will benefit from the programme since it seeks to identify opportunities to significantly improve the delivery of public infrastructure and services in rural areas.




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