The Government of India has launched numerous welfare schemes and programs since independence with ‘Growth with Social Justice as the basic objective of the development planning in the country. It can be said that there is at present a scheme to cover any requirement or meet any specific need of any section/segment of the society or part of the country. While these schemes have managed to bring about significant and positive changes in its attempt to fulfil the ideal of a welfare state not only in principle but also through economic planning thus securing to its citizens justice- social, economic and political, the government still needs to fine tune various aspects to ensure that the real and intended beneficiaries receive their due share.
The recent move by the state government to ensure proper coordination between the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) and the related departments so that awareness of various schemes can be dispersed to the public with greater ease and efficiency may be viewed as a positive development in the ongoing efforts of the present government who have so far shown its eagerness to walk the talk.
Admission of drawbacks and weaknesses in the administrative process rather than making excuses and passing the buck around is a sign of political maturity. But the real test of intent and integrity of thought by the leaders is when measures are actually taken up to make good such mistakes and weaknesses.
The issue of the declining popularity of government schemes needs to be addressed from different aspects starting with the formulating of such schemes to finding the right mix of methods for spreading awareness to the intended beneficiaries to streamlining a delivery mechanism that can ensure accountability during the whole process.
Difficulty in understanding the nuances or finer points of the program compounded by the inability to disseminate information and details of the schemes remain the biggest hurdle. Reports of cheating and preparation of false muster rolls were rampant. Instances of siphoning of money and resources were the order of the day and bureaucratic hurdles add to the murky nature of the whole exercise which has even come to be seen by many as an organised racket.
Despite the drawbacks which are more a result of greedy and dishonest officials and administrators along the long chain of implementation of these schemes, they remain the vital means to bridge the gap between the rapidly increasing rate of development and the less fortunate and disadvantaged sections of the society. For any welfare measure to be carried out successfully, active participation of the public, especially the beneficiaries is important. They need to be aware of the schemes and the exact benefits they are entitled to and also encourage them to demand the same. However, the best laid plans of mice and men are about the same. The result of the whole humongous exercise rests in its proper implementation, and the best way to go about it is to develop methods for easy and efficient checks and balances with a motivated workforce to put it into action.