On 15 June, 2017, Congress member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor claimed that 23 of the BJP-led government’s new programmes were merely renamed versions of schemes launched by the previous governments led by his party.
Another Twitter user made the same claim on 11 June 2017.
We found that 19 of the 23 programmes were indeed renamed versions of older schemes, as Tharoor claimed.
Here’s our analysis:
Claim 1: Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana = Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account
Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) was a no-minimum-balance service with all facilities of a normal banking account, except that withdrawals were limited to four a month, according to this Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular dated 17 August 2012. The accounts came with an automated teller machine (ATM)-cum-debit card too.
The BSBDA accounts were also meant for beneficiaries of government programmes, according to this answer in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on 13 December 2012.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), launched on 28 August 2014, an accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, overdraft facility up to Rs 5,000 after six months, and a life insurance of Rs 30,000 were added to BSBDA accounts.
Prem Singh Azad, deputy general manager, Allahabad Bank, who is involved in the bank’s financial inclusion programme, told IndiaSpend:
They are more or less the same. All accounts opened prior to 28 August 2014, were BSBDA. Since then, they have all become PMJDY accounts. It’s only a change of nomenclature.
Claim 2: Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana = National Girl Child Day programmes
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-I declared 24 January as the National Girl Day in 2008-09 and several objectives associated with previous continuing programmes were adopted as targets.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana (BBBPY), launched in January 2015 under the ministries of women and child development, health and family welfare and human resource development, was a consolidation of old programmes scattered across schemes and ministries under the UPA government.
For instance, the girl child education programme of BBBPY was a repackaging of older education schemes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, according to this February 2016 report by the Centre for Development and Human Rights, a research and advocacy organisation in New Delhi.
Claim 3: Swach Bharat Abhiyan = Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan
In September 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government approved a proposal that Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme be restructured into Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, according to this government release.
Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was the new name adopted for the Total Sanitation Campaign on 1 April 2012 under UPA-II, according to the Abhiyan’s guidelines.
Total Sanitation Campaign was the new name given to the Central Rural Sanitation Programme – launched by the Congress in 1986 – in 1999, according to the drinking water and sanitation ministry’s website.
Claim 4: Sardar Patel National Urban Housing Mission = Rajiv Awaas Yojana
The Pioneer reported on 10 October 2014, quoting Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu:
The government is shortly going to launch a comprehensive programme named Sardar Patel National Housing Mission by merging and improving existing urban housing schemes.
A parliamentary committee, headed by Biju Janata Dal member Pinaki Mishra, had even asked the government in December 2014 how merely changing the name could accelerate implementation, The Telegraph reported on 30 December 2014.
Claim 5: Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) = Indira Awaas Yojana
A parliamentary standing committee report – submitted on 31 August 2016 – pointed out that Congress’s Indira Awaas Yojana was “rechristen[ed]” Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin).
Claim 6: Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana = Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana
The UPA’s Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana was “subsumed” under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, according to this government release on 23 July 2015.
Claim 7: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation = Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission
NDA’s urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu had said on assuming office that they would replace Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with their own urban renewal schemes, The Hindu reported on 29 May 2014.
Subsequently, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), smart cities Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Urban) were launched on 25 June 2015.
A comparison of some key objectives of the two programmes shows that under the NDA government, the targets of UPA’s umbrella programme have been spread over several schemes.
The “sectors covered under JNNURM and AMRUT and other urban development programmes overlap significantly,” according this March 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global consultancy .
“[V]arious urban sector components [that] were earlier addressed through a single mission (JNNURM) … have now been split across missions [such as AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission],” the report said.
Claim 8: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana = Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme
Three older programmes – Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme of the water resources ministry, Integrated Watershed Management Programme of the land resources ministry and the On Farm Water Management of agriculture and cooperation department – were merged to create the NDA’s Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, according to Yojana’s website.
As government websites (click here, here, here, here and here) do not reveal when exactly the programme was launched in 1996, it is difficult to check this claim, as three prime ministers – Congress’s PV Narasimha Rao (till 16 May), BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee (16 May-1 June) and Janata Dal (Secular)’s HD Deve Gowda (1 June onwards) – governed India during 1996.
The watershed management programme goes back to the late 1980s when the country was mostly under Congress’s rule.
Claim 9: BJP’s neem-coated urea = Congress’s neem-coated urea
It was finally included in the 1985 Order through an amendment on 6 February 2017.
Claim 10: Soil Health Card scheme = National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility
A soil health card was “added” to the National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility, according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department.
Under the UPA government, soil health cards were also issued under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, one of its several organic-farming programmes, according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16. This scheme was also merged with NDA’s renamed Soil Health Card programme.
Claim 11: Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana = Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other programmes
“Some existing components … have been clubbed together as a cluster based programme and named Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana,” according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department, FactChecker reported on 22 July 2015.
Claim 12: Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana = Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana
A senior ministry official was quoted as saying the name had been changed, Hindustan Times reported on 25 May 2017.
Claim 13: Atal Pension Yojana = Swavalamban Yojana
Even as the Modi government folded Congress’s Swavalamban Yojana – a pension scheme for unorganised sector workers launched on 29 September 2010 – under its Atal Pension Yojana, the features of the two schemes remain the same, according to this comparison by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute For Contemporary Studies, a think tank in New Delhi.
Claim 14: Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana = Jan Aushadhi scheme
The decision to launch the Jan Aushadhi scheme, a programme to supply unbranded medicines at lower prices, was taken on 23 April 2008.
The first store under the scheme was opened on 25 November 2008, according to the Bureau of Pharma PSU in India, established under the department of pharmaceuticals on 1 December 2008, to coordinate the scheme through government-owned companies.
The scheme is now called Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, according to this Lok Sabha answer on 14 March 2017.
Claim 15: Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana = Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme
The 1985 Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme concluded in 1999, according to this report of the agriculture and cooperation department.
Claim 16: Make In India = National Manufacturing Policy
The Make In India website not only summarises the scheme as Congress’ “National Manufacturing Policy” but even the broken download link unsuccessfully directs you to a 2011 document of the older policy.
Claim 17: Digital India = National eGovernance Plan
The National eGovernance Plan is “now subsumed under Digital India”, according to this government release on 30 November 2016.
Previous skill development programmes were relaunched as Skill India with new branding, according to this government release on 15 July 2015.
The older programmes – National Skill Development Corporation and National Skill Development Fund (launched in 2009), and National Skill Development Agency (launched in 2013) – were brought under a new department of skill development and entrepreneurship on 31 July 2014, according to this government release.
The department became a ministry on 9 November 2014.
Claim 19: Mission Indradhanush = Universal Immunisation Programme
Mission Indradhanush is the new name for special immunisation weeks, which were being conducted in areas of low immunisation under the Universal Immunisation Programme, FactChecker reported on 23 July 2015.
Claim 20: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana = National Rural Livelihood Mission
“The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana … is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission,” according to the programme website.
Claim 21: PAHAL = Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG
Launched on 1 June 2013, the “Direct Benefit transfer of LPG scheme PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh) [was] re-launched in 54 districts on 15 November 2014 in the 1st phase and will be launched in the rest of the 622 districts of the country on 1.1.2015,” according to this government release on 31 December 2014.
Claim 22: BharatNet = National Optic Fibre Network
The National Optic Fibre Network, approved on 25 October 2011, aims to provide “Broadband connectivity to Panchayats”.
BharatNet merely repeats the claim: “to digitally connect all the Gram Panchayats (GPs) and Villages of India”, according to this September 2016 Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay report on the second phase of the programme.
Claim 23: Sagarmala = National Maritime Development Programme
The programme was originally announced by Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on 15 August 2003, during the BJP-led NDA’s first stint in power, Frontline reported in March-April 2004.
When the Congress-led UPA came to power, it launched its own National Maritime Development Programme even as Sagarmala lapsed, according to this Lok Sabha answer on 3 August 2009.
The NDA revived the original programme on 25 March 2015.
(This article was originally published on FactChecker and has been republished with permission.)