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Existing safety net programs in India provide income and nutritional assistance during different stages of an individual’s life. Critics have pointed out to inefficiencies in the design and delivery mechanisms which reduce the effectiveness of these programs in benefiting the targeted population. In this chapter, we argue that safety nets should account for the changing economic structure, demographic transitions and shifting livelihood patterns. As India urbanizes, focusing on urban poor, diversifying away from staple grain-focused policy is essential. Use of tools such as ICTs to curb corruption and leakages from the safety nets is essential. Finally, we highlight the complementary role of essential public goods provision together with the expansion of safety nets for reducing vulnerability and structural poverty.
In the previous chapter, we have discussed the potential role of safety nets in reducing the triple burden of malnutrition.
Arriving at an exact estimate for these schemes is non-trivial because the outlays and expenditures on food assistance programs in government statistics also include the expenses on food procurement and stocking operations. Further, state governments may spend over and above the central government’s expenditures, making the calculations imprecise.
It must be noted that food subsidy also includes the food procurement operations. It is very difficult to get data which differentiates PDS from overall food subsidy.
Wage here represents the amount in total paid as wages to the workers. The rest is the amount spent on materials for the public works program.
MGNREGS payments are made through post offices, and the panchayat leader is the sanctioning authority as the scheme is decentralized to the lowest tier of government administration.
Aadhaar is the world’s largest national identification number project.
The estimate also includes subsidies on fertilizers, LPG and other items which are not discussed here.
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- Reimagining Safety Net Programs
- Chapter 6
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