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A case for conditional cash transfers
- Successful social protection programmes in many countries like Mexico, Brazil and South Africa
- Redistributive transfers have multiplier effects and create more secure societies
- They provide growth with equity and are in the national interest of the countries
- Reduce the economic loss due to health and education problems
- CCTs can also serve as effective tools for population stabilization by providing social security. Poor have many children as an insurance against old age. If social security programmes exist they might not have to depend so much on this insurance and can have less children.
- What needs to be done?
- Programmes like NRHM measure effectiveness in terms of process indicators like the infrastructure built, increased heath personnel, delivery structures etc. While these are important, it is necessary to measure the actual effectiveness by measuring the impact on actual health indicators.
- CCTs work in tandem with public institutions. One needs a public hospital to make use of the cash transfer for health purpose. Hence, the government must also focus on providing health institutions for good health care while using CCTs.
- CCTs are not a panacea for poverty, ill health or for stabilising populations.
- For health, they will deliver within the context of an effective health care system.
- The use of CCTs as a proxy for the delivery of good health care is fallacious
- The use of CCTs should not result in the government abdicating its responsibility of providing public services to the poor.
- They should also not be viewed as another business opportunity for free market players.
- CCTs are not complete solutions and call for a nuanced understanding of the strategy, context and issues.