The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme, one the most ambitious projects of the BJP-led government for the overall development and protection of the girl child, has been strongly criticised by the Comptroller And Auditor General (C&AG) for its failure to spent a significant portion of its allocated funds.
The C&AG report, accessed by activist Vihar Durve under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, says:
“Audit noticed that the emphasis of the Ministry was merely on exhausting the allocated budget by release of funds rather than on the basis of position of actual utilisation of earlier release.”
The data reveals that less than 20 percent of the funds have been spent by states and union territories (UT) under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
Moreover, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has been releasing funds to the States/UTs without properly scrutinising the utilisation of the previous funds.
Purpose of the Scheme
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched in April 2015 to control the decline in Child Sex Ratio (CSR). The scheme has three main objectives:
- To prevent gender-biased sex-selective elimination
- To ensure survival and protection of the girl child
- To ensure education and participation of the girl child
A total budget of Rs 19,999 lakh was allocated by the Centre to the MWCD for the implementation of the scheme in 100 selected districts till 2016-17
Data reveals, as shown in the graphics 1, till 2016-17, only Rs 5,489 lakh was released by the MWCD to the States/UTs for carrying out the scheme in 100 districts.
Not just that, of Rs 5,489 lakh, only Rs 1,865 lakh was utilised/spent by the States/UTs for the implementation of the scheme. The remaining Rs 3,624 is still unspent.
Graphics 2 shows that the States/UTs already had an amount of Rs 4,410.46 lakh leftover from what they had received in 2015-16. Despite this, the MWCD went ahead and released another Rs 786.4 lakh to the States/UTs under the scheme.
The C&AG also noted in the report that a fresh amount of funds was released in 2017-18, which increased the total amount released to Rs 5,489 lakh.
The C&AG said:
“Despite balance funds of Rs 3624.05 lakh lying with the state governments as of March 2017, the Ministry released fresh funds of Rs 3298.85 lakh during 2017-18, which was an avoidable expenditure.”
Here’s the list of top 10 States/UT, as mentioned in the C&AG report, who were allocated huge amounts of funds but never utilised it for the implementation of the scheme.
One of the objectives of the BBBP scheme was to control sex ratio. But Niti Aayog’s 2015 data, as shown in the Graphics 4, shows that number of females per 1000 males have declined in all the 10 states/UT.
The National Crime Record Bureau data reveals that the scheme failed in achieving its second objective too. Crime against children had been on a constant rise in all 10 States/UT between 2014-16, and Uttar Pradesh is now taking the lead in the country.
There had been a marginal improvement in the literacy rate of the girl child in the 10 States/UT between 2014-2017.
The C&AG report also points that some of the states managed to get more funds by filing incomplete utilisation certificate to the Ministry, which is in complete violation of the scheme guidelines.
The report says:
“The release of funds by the Ministry without ensuring utilisation of funds already released, and without even having the necessary action plans not only violated the scheme guidelines, but led to large unspent balances with the State/UTs.”
Though the MWCD has failed to implement the scheme on the ground, advertisements released by the government on the BBBP calls the scheme a success.
Revision of The Scheme Without Proper Approval
In January 2016, the Ministry augmented the scope of the scheme by including 61 additional districts and allocating an additional amount of Rs 76 crore, over and above of already allocated Rs 19,999 lakh.
The C&AG report says the revised scheme was “irregular” because it was done without the approval of the competent authority.
It was seen that though the appraisal of the revised cost of the BBBP scheme in January 2016 was carried out by the Standing Finance Committe in the chairmanship of the Secretary, MWCD, the approval of the minister was not obtained by the ministry before implementing the revised budgetary norms.
Clearly, the ministry not only failed to implement the scheme at several levels, but also failed to monitor the utilisation of the funds allocated to the States/UT’s. Due to this, it is not clear whether whatever amount has been spent by the States/UTs so far has been utilised for the benefits of the girl child.