In a major governance revamp, the Planning Commission wants the Centre to administer just 30 schemes and give money for remaining programmes directly to the state governments.
There are about 1,300 schemes administered by different Central government ministries and in many, the yearly allocation is less than R100 crore. The money is meager considering that India’s plan budget for the financial year 2011-12 was R4,23,00,000 crore with big schemes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan getting over R20,000 crore.
Several chief ministers including Nitish Kumar of Bihar have demanded that the states be allowed to use funds from the Centre as per their need. The National Development Council headed by Prime Minister has already passed a resolution to reduce a number of Central government schemes.
"It is just not possible for the district administration to run so many Central schemes. There should be less and more effective programmes," he said after a recent meeting with Plan Panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The plan panel has framed a broad outline of the schemes that should be shelved and the framework of the 30 flagship programmes. Each flagship programme will cover an entire sector. "It would be on the lines of Bharat Nirman," an official said.
But, the plan panel is treading cautiously as the move can upset many Central government ministries as there is a huge workforce to run these small schemes. "We need to discuss the approach with all the ministries before taking a final decision," Plan Panel member secretary told HT recently.
"The problem is for each scheme the department or the ministry gets administrative funds to hire personnel. Once in, the government it is very difficult to remove anyone," an official said.
The commission believes it is not such a big problem as many existing schemes would be merged into the main flagship programmes.
The aim of the exercise is effective monitoring, which the panel believes is not possible in more than 30 schemes. As of now, only 12 flagship programmes are under the constant radar of the Centre.
The commission wants to introduce the new mechanism from the 12th five year plan starting from 2012-13 but before that it will have to cross the wall of opposition emerging from bureaucrats in the Central government ministries.