Every time a new government comes to power, be it at the centre or state, umpteen promises are doled out to the common man along with a plethora of schemes and subsidies meant to uplift the society and change the status quo. But many a times, these policies suffer from acute shortcomings and fail to meet the very objective they were launched for. Here, let’s take a look at some major policy paralysis that struck different states at different points in time.

1. Karunya lottery introduced by the Kerala CM Oommen Chandy

The ‘Karunya Benevolent fund’ was launched with the aim of providing financial assistance to underprivileged people suffering from ailments such as cancer, haemophilia, kidney and heart diseases. The income generated through the sale of lottery was to be devoted for extending financial assistance to the aforementioned cause. However, a few months into the project and having collected 55 crore, the government was able to disburse just a measly 7 crore to the needy. Out of 6000 poor applicants, only 750 could benefit from the CM’s scheme. Reason for this was the acute shortage of staff at the State Lotteries department and the implementing agency of the project. Staff shortage combined with some bureaucratic red tape-ism prevented the truly needy from reaping the benefits of a scheme that was meant to alleviate their pain.

2. Jayalalitha’s free laptop scheme that went awry

Amma, as she is fondly called by the whole of Tamil Nadu, introduced the free laptop scheme to bring about a digital revolution and bridge the persisting technological divide. Several brands such as Lenovo, Dell and Wipro were roped in to carry out the ambitious project. However, the project fizzled out as the free laptops distributed to students found their way into grey markets where they were sold at throwaway prices. Reasons for the same are believed to be poverty, high service cost and expensive internet connection. Aimed at spreading computer literacy, this project has only caused huge expenditure to the exchequer and an increase in trade in the grey market.

3. Food security scheme and Sheila Dikshit

The food security scheme was launched in the national capital amidst much fanfare to benefit over 32 lakh people residing in the slums and resettlement colonies of the city. Under the scheme, the poor were meant to get rice at Rs 3/kilo, wheat at Rs 2/kilo and coarse grains at Rs 1/kilo. Nevertheless, on conducting a survey 3 months down the line, it was found out that 60% of the people surveyed had not received food grain at cheaper rates since they did not have the required food card. Government only spun excuses around the inefficient procedure when told about the plight of people. Among other things, people also complained about being turned down on approaching for LPG cylinders. The general mood among the masses was one of rage. Yet another CM, yet another failed policy.

4. Rice for Olive Ridley Conservation scheme in Orissa

The families of fishermen in Orissa are affected by a 7 month ban on marine fishing as a part of the Olive Ridley protection measure every year. So as to compensate for the loss of income, over 6000 families are granted 25 kg of rice per month at the rate of 1 rupee/kg. However, the fishermen complain that the subsidized rice would be of no help in solving their livelihood problems. This time, the government has failed to provide the affected folks with an alternative source of income.

5. CM Ashok Gehlot’s scheme for disaster relief

The people struck by disasters of flood and rain in the year 2012 were waiting in 2013 as well for their houses to be rebuilt under the special housing scheme and the government relief. Also, the CM declared funds of amount Rs 50,000 and 25,000 for people affected by complete and partial damages respectively. Despite having such an effective programme at hand, the departments concerned showed very little interest in implementing it. The sub-par development made under the scheme was in stark contrast with the compensation provided by the State Disaster Management and Relief department.

On a concluding note, one can only hope that the number of such policy failures and lapses will diminish in the future and benefit the truly needy.