While the change in regime at the centre had many raising their expectations and hopes for a radical change in the outlook of the central government from that of a welfarist nature to that of an industrialized one in consonance with the assurances and promises made by the present prime minister during the campaigns, what has played out in reality has left many with a bitter aftertaste even before the first five-year term is over. Doubts and suspicions of the NDA government following the path much trodden by the UPA government has already reared its ugly head, and with it the inherent uncomfortable feeling that the initial euphoria and celebrations have been a little too premature. There is no dearth of welfare schemes catering to almost every aspect of a citizen’s life: livelihood, health, security, education, food- you name it, there ought to be a scheme which is in force or, in the rarest of circumstances, being drawn up and ready for implementation. The most imperative question one would have to try to answer next is: despite the show of persistence in continuing with the plethora of social security and welfare schemes, what is the level of efficiency of such schemes? In other words, how far has these schemes been able to benefit the intended beneficiaries?
Taking into account the protracted allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of resources intended for the real beneficiaries which is perhaps as old as the schemes, it becomes clear that the real fault lies not with the intent or objective, but with the delivery mechanism which leaves much to be worked on. In short, the mechanisms in place at present to effect implementation of these welfare and security schemes needs to be reviewed in earnest to plug any loopholes in the system, and there are lots more than the authorities would care to admit at this juncture. Newer and more effective systems of checks and balances need to be introduced immediately to ensure greater efficiency in delivery.
The most effective system, however, would be for the beneficiaries to be made aware of the benefits being extended to them by the central and state governments and the exact details of such benefits. Raising the awareness of the intended targets as well as devising a system where their complaints and grievances can be addressed at the shortest time while fixing responsibilities and accountabilities for each part of the chain will bring down the instances of pilferage, misappropriations and deliberate siphoning of resources and benefits to a manageable level. The beneficiaries need to be made to understand that these welfare and security measures are not merely another run-on-the mill regular programs of the government, but are aimed at bringing down the restraints of daily needs on the poor and the needy so that their days can be more gainfully utilized. The beneficiaries need to make themselves feel empowered enough to demand the proper and effective implementation of the schemes. The development and progress of the country depends as much on the proactive participation of the marginalized and needy citizens as it is on drawing up efficient and inclusive plans and schemes.