India Briefings

Highlights of the Budget 2024: “Sabse Badi Jaati” How Three Modi Government Schemes and DBT Helped People Escape Poverty

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<p>In the early days of August 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi found himself engaged in discourse with NDA MPs from Uttar Pradesh and the southern states during a pivotal assembly in preparation for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. During this meeting, he articulated, “Gareebi sabse badi jaati hai (poverty is the foremost caste),” a sentiment he reiterated multiple times, underscoring one of the primary objectives of his leadership at the helm – the alleviation of poverty.</p>
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<p>As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the interim budget, a particular emphasis was placed on the indigent and the utilization of technology by the Modi government to uplift many from destitution. She not only spotlighted a singular initiative but rather a multitude of schemes with a specific focus on providing succor to those below the poverty line or contributing to overall poverty alleviation.</p>
<p>The mechanism of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) stands out as a transformative force, substantially diminishing corrupt practices, and the central government proudly proclaimed savings amounting to Rs 2.7 lakh crore. Sitharaman asserted that no less than 25 crore individuals have transcended multidimensional poverty. In the fiscal year 2013-14, a year preceding the assumption of power by the Narendra Modi-led government, this figure stood at 29.2 percent of the population. Nearly a decade later, in 2022-23, it plummeted to 11.3 percent.</p>
<p>Sitharaman criticized the previous approach of combating poverty through entitlements, citing it as yielding very modest outcomes. She emphasized that when the impoverished become empowered participants in the developmental process, “the government’s ability to assist them also increases manifold.”</p>
<p>Consider the PM SVANidhi scheme, a credit assurance extended to 78 lakh street vendors to date. This central sector initiative, fully funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, aims to facilitate working capital loans up to Rs 10,000, incentivize regular repayment, and promote digital transactions. It has brought about a positive transformation in 78 lakh families and continues to do so.</p>
<p>Another notable example is the PM-Janman Yojana, which specifically reaches out to vulnerable tribal groups. Sitharaman referenced this scheme while discussing various measures of “empowerment.” She stated, “PM Vishwakarma Yojana provides end-to-end support to artisans and craftspeople engaged in 18 trades. The schemes for divyang and transgender persons reflect the unwavering commitment of our government to leave no one behind.”</p>
<p>In addressing the “biggest caste,” gareebi (poverty), the Prime Minister commended the budget for its comprehensive approach to four key segments. “This interim budget is inclusive and innovative. It exudes confidence in continuity and will empower all four pillars of ‘Viksit Bharat’ – yuva, gareeb, mahila, and kisan,” he proclaimed.</p>

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