Modi Has Merely Renamed 19 Out Of 23 Congress Schemes

Shashi Tharoor claimed that 23 of the BJP government’s new programmes were renamed versions of Congress schemes.

9 min read
Shashi Tharoor claimed that 23 of the BJP-led government’s new programmes were merely renamed versions of schemes launched by the Congress.

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

Fact: True

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.

Unlike BSBDA, PMJDY accounts had a credit limit of Rs 1 lakh because of which pension reimbursements were getting rejected, The Financial Express reported on 8 September 2016.

While BSBDA covered only villages with above 2,000 population, PMJDY has been extended to all areas–rural as well as urban.

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

Fact: True

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.


Similarly, BBBPY’s objectives of improving the child sex ratio and reducing school dropout rates among girls were already present in the UPA’s Dhanalakshmi and Sabla schemes, respectively. Dhanalakshmi was later discontinued as states already had better schemes in place.

Claim 3: Swach Bharat Abhiyan = Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

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).

The “Guidelines”, “Scheme Allocation” and “FAQs” on the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) website still open as Indira Awaas Yojana documents.


Claim 6: Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana = Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

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.

JNNURM was launched on 3 December 2005, for an initial period of seven years and then extended for two years up to March 2014, according to this Rajya Sabha answer on 6 December 2012.

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.

Sources: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation,Town and Country Planning Organisation, AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, PM Awaas Yojana-Urban
Sources: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation,Town and Country Planning Organisation, AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, PM Awaas Yojana-Urban

Claim 8: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana = Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme

Fact: Unclear

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

Fact: True

Neem-coated urea was included in the Fertiliser (Control) Order of 1985 in 2004, according to government-owned National Fertilizers’ website, and was notified on 2 June 2008, according to this government communication.

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

Fact: True

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.

The Centre would earlier provide support to states for issuing soil health cards under the central scheme, according to Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) answers (click here and here).

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

Fact: True

“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

Fact: Unclear

The ministry of women and child development’s website does not use the new name –Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana – for the maternity benefit programme (see the latest release dated 19 May 2017) but archives releases under the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana under the same head.

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

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

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

Fact: False

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

Fact: True

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.

(Photo: FactChecker)
(Photo: FactChecker)
(Photo: FactChecker)
(Photo: FactChecker)

The features of the National Manufacturing Policy and Make in India remain the same, shows a comparison on Twitter on 13 February 2016, by Amitabh Dubey, a political analyst at Trusted Sources, which provides investment research on emerging markets.


Claim 17: Digital India = National eGovernance Plan

Fact: True
The National eGovernance Plan is “now subsumed under Digital India”, according to this government release on 30 November 2016.

Both the Congress (click here and here) and the BJP schemes talk about building infrastructure for delivering government services electronically.

Claim 18: Skill India = National Skill Development Programme

Fact: True
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

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

“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

Fact: True

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

Fact: True

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

Fact: False

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.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!