The Centre cleared an ambitious plan on Friday to give Rs 3,300 crore directly to 60 Naxal-affected districts to create basic facilities for the millions living on the fringes of existence and try to make up for decades of alienation and misgovernance.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Rs 25 crore was being sent to each of the 60 districts for the next four months, and another Rs 30 crore next year to build facilities such as schools, health care centres, roads, and improve food distribution.
A district-level panel headed by the collector — the district police chief and forest officer would be members — would decide where to spend the money, depending on local priorities. In this, they would also have to consult other district officials such as those handling education and health.
Chidambaram, however, made it clear that they were looking at projects with a short turnaround time: that can be completed within weeks or months.
“We want to see visible, concrete and completed projects,” the home minister, who had earlier been criticised for focusing too much on police action, said, announcing the integrated action plan that had been reported first by HT.
Chidambaram will soon convene a meeting of development commissioners of the nine affected states such as Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to send the message that the district collectors “must hit the road, running”.
In the past, the home minister has echoed concerns that funds allocated to state governments were not being adequately spent.
Last year, they had been able to spend only about 65 per cent of the allocated funds.