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Delhi:

Revisiting the pet projects launched by the Narendra Modi government ahead of the 2019 general election might not a good choice for bhakts. One of the much-celebrated schemes initiated by the Modi government in January 2015 ­, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ is a textbook example that shows the priorities of the government in the execution of these schemes.

More than 56% of the funds that amounts to a total of Rs 364 crore earmarked for the scheme had been spent on advertisements. The scheme was aimed at improving the skewed child sex ratio and other issues of women empowerment.

The data was released by Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Virendra Kumar in response to a query in Lok Sabha. A total of 648 crores had been earmarked for the scheme for five years. Only less than 25% of the funds were disbursed to districts and states. Over 19 per cent of the funds weren’t released by the government initially.

The first phase of the scheme focused on 100 districts that have comparatively lower sex ratio. As many as 61 districts got further added in the second phase.

Experts are in the opinion that the problem with these schemes lies in the manner at which it was implemented. They claim that the funds were not being released effectively and the focus was on publicity rather than on areas where proper intervention is required, namely in education and health sectors.

According to economist Mitali Nikore, who wrote a blog in The Times of India on the matter, “only a small proportion of the funds, about 5 per cent each, is allocated for education and health interventions. Further, another 5% is allocated for training and capacity building at the district level, with training at the central level receiving only 1%,” she wrote in the blog.

She criticised the pattern of expenditure was highly skewed towards a particular aspect of the scheme – publicity.’

Nikore further added that the government should have made provisions for “strengthening long term, measurable outcomes related to education and health envisaged under the scheme”.

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