The Uttar Pradesh government may get Rs. 8,200 crore more from the Centre despite lowest spending in the last six years, thanks to Samajwadi Party's cosy relations with the UPA government that is surviving on a thin majority.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week seeking more money for the state and the Centre was more than willing to oblige.
The Planning Commission and the Uttar Pradesh government are likely to agree on Rs. 66,000 crore for the 2013-2014 plan on Thursday when chief minister Akhilesh Yadav meets panel's deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The allocation for 2012-13 was Rs. 57,800 crore.
The panel obliquely pointed out Akhilesh government's low expenditure as compared to Maywati's five years as the CM. The UP government was able to spend only 86.14% in 2012-13, the first full financial year of Akhilesh government, as compared to average 97.2% in five years of the Mayawati government, official records state.
What had irked the panel is the state's poor performance in the Centre's flagship programmes. As on November 2012, the balance fund available with the state government was Rs. 10,400 crore and the expenditure was abysmally low on Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, National Horticulture Mission, National Rural Health Mission and Central Rural Sanitation Programme.
The UP government said the expenditure was low as fund spending was spread across 55,000 panchayats but the plan panel wants the state to have better fund management.
The panel officials also said that of the Rs. 700 crore given under Backward Regions Grant Fund, the state was able to spend only Rs. 207 crore. But, the political push for UP could be the reason for UP expected to get Rs. 700 crore again from the fund devised to eradicate backwardness in the states.
The panel has another advice for the state government, which it may not find politically convenient. The panel wants Akhilesh government to adopt Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's model for reducing electricity losses and adopt solar energy for productive use of waste lands.
The state has also come under criticism from the panel for poor track record on school education. As per 2012 ASER report, only 13.7% schoolchildren cannot read letters and 30.6% can read letters but not words.