The government should adopt ‘zero budgeting approach’ and resort to convergence of welfare schemes to ensure the intended outcomes, the Economic Survey 2013-14 has recommended.
Besides, simplifying governance and involving the beneficiaries is also indispensable to ensure effective delivery of social sector programmes , the Survey said. A lot more can be done with the help of the private sector, which has been a little reluctant to participate in the government’s social-sector programmes due to payment and procedural delays.
The Survey says the single biggest challenge in implementing the welfare programmes is the lack of an effective delivery mechanism which did not allow intended outcomes to be translated on the ground. As a remedy, the government should also try to “remove multiple layers of governance, simplify procedures, and seek greater participatory role by the beneficiaries” in creating a better delivery mechanism, the Survey has said. It has advocated effective use of IT along with bigger private-sector participation can improve the delivery of social-sector programmes and also help in identifying the ‘ghost’ beneficiaries.
While India has not compromised on expenditures on welfare activities despite the global shocks as reflected in the rise in social expenditure as a percentage of GDP, the outcomes remained elusive.
“A mere mark-up each year in the Budget for existing programmes or starting some new programmes will not suffice. What is needed is a ‘zero budgeting’ approach with a revamp, reorganisation and convergence of social-sector schemes with a minimum size,” the Survey has said.