Community Assessment of Entitlement Programmes: A Study on the Implementation of Five Central Government Sponsored Schemes in Six Districts of Northern India


This ActionAid report aims to document the extent to which the government has succeeded in implementing food security programmes, social security programmes for widows, and rural housing schemes for the poor. It covers six ‘backward’ districts of north India. It is based on surveys conducted in East Champaran district of Bihar, Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, Latehar district of Jharkhand, Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, and Pratapgarh and Barabanki districts of Uttar Pradesh between January and April 2017.

The programmes covered were the Integrated Child Development Services, Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDM Scheme), public distribution system (PDS), Indira Awaas Yojana and widow pension schemes. The report also makes recommendations to strengthen these programmes and improve their implementation in these districts.


  1. The number of children covered by anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) increased in the three years before the surveys were conducted in all six districts. However, 27 per cent of the respondents said that there were no anganwadis in areas inhabited by poor communities.

  2. Around 25 per cent of all children registered with an anganwadi were malnourished. Government guidelines say that malnourished children are entitled to double the amount of rations under ICDS. However, 118 of the anganwadis surveyed didn’t give them the prescribed amount, while 8 were not even aware of the guidelines.

  3. Of the 215 primary schools surveyed, 27 per cent had more than 150 children registered under the MDM Scheme, 7 per cent had 121-150 children registered, and 66 per cent had less than 120 children registered.

  4. Around 60.8 per cent of the respondents said that the quality of the midday meal was good. But children were getting less rice and dal than was supplied to the schools.

  5. The report says that in order to be ‘change agents’, anganwadis must work as counseling and outreach centres rather than ‘food distribution centres’.

  6. 11 per cent of the schools surveyed didn’t have separate kitchen sheds and 7.9 per cent didn’t have drinking water or toilet facilities. To construct kitchen sheds, pay the honorariums of cooks and helpers, and ensure drinking water/toilet facilities, the report recommends the convergence of the MDM Scheme and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. For health check-ups and micronutrients, the report suggests the convergence of the MDM Scheme and the National Rural Health Mission.

  7. Widows didn’t receive their pensions regularly. Nearly 85 per cent of the 716 widows surveyed said the date on which they received their pension was not fixed. Almost all of them said that the amount received per month was not enough to live with dignity.

  8. The number of widows in the unorganised sector is very high and the widow pension scheme is severely inadequate. The report suggests that the coverage of the scheme can be universal, without any below poverty line criteria.

  9. 54 per cent of respondents said that as compared to three years ago the quantity of grains supplied under the PDS had improved. 40.3 per cent said the quantity of grains was the “same” and 1.8 per cent said that the quantity was less.

  10. The report recommends that the Ministry of Rural Development must specify a clear and well-defined procedure for the selection of below poverty line (BPL) families for the PDS. The current procedure, it says, is opaque, bureaucratic and doesn’t involve the gram sabha.

  11. Under the Indira Awaas Yojana, households are given money to build houses – Rs. 75,000 in hilly areas and Rs. 70,000 in the plains. However, 84 per cent of respondents reported having spent additional amounts of money to build their homes. 

  12. The eligibility criteria for the Indira Awaas Yojana, the report says, needs be changed for ‘backward areas’, where houses may have been destroyed due to violence or natural calamities.


    Focus and Factoids by Tarun Gidwani.




Published by ActionAid, New Delhi (under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license)


28 Dec, 2017