Opening the doors for panchayati raj institutions to formulate development plans under the Integrated Action Plan, a cabinet committee has given its in-principle approval to make them active partners in implementing IAP projects.
The decision was taken at Wednesday's meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) that also raised the number of districts entitled for Rs 30 crore every year by 18.
This brings the total number of districts under IAP to 78. The plan, aimed as a development booster for naxal-affected districts — was cleared by the committee in November last year.
Andhra Pradesh accounted for 6 of the 18 new districts. Bankura and Purulia, the two districts that make up the Jangalmahal area in West Bengal have also been included in the list. Ranchi, Giridi and Khunti from Jharkhand, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Rayagada in Odisha, and Mirzapur and Chandauli of UP have also been included.
Bihar's Munger and Kaimur districts have made it to this list. The Cabinet, however, knocked out Sitamarhi and Paschim Champaran.
Under existing norms, the district magistrate, superintendent of police and the forest officer are responsible for drawing up the list of projects to be taken up under IAP.
Sources said the Cabinet panel also discussed the need to revisit how the projects were drawn up and veered round to the point that in future, gram panchayats and its elected representatives should be roped in.
This model, where gram sabhas will be involved, is a shift closer to the plan panel's recommendations that had called the centralised structure for funding and assessment of schemes through the district magistrates "deeply retrogressive".