The central plan to pump in Rs 3,300 crore over the next 16 months in micro projects in Naxal-hit districts was aimed at addressing the developmental deficit and control the expansion and consolidation of Naxal influence, a government official said on Sunday.
Home minister P Chidambaram unveiled an ambitious integrated action plan this week that will give 60 districts a free hand to spend R25 crore over the next four months. The districts would similarly get R30 crore each next year.
Over the next week or so, the Centre will convene a meeting of development commissioners of the nine Naxal-hit states covered under the plan to ask them to deliver on this mandate.
“The plan is aimed at encouraging the people not to support the Naxals,” a government official said, pointing that micro projects that could be executed by local contractors will be given preference. “This will also cut the red tape… the need to go for detailed cost approvals.”
Similar development schemes have not succeeded in the past since a major chunk of the funds remained unused. Also, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the funds that were shown to have been spent.
A study earlier this year indicated that expenditure on health, education, child care, electricity, roads, water, was significantly lower in most of the 33 districts worst hit by Naxalism.
In Jharkhand, for instance, it showed only 15% of the money earmarked for child care was spent. It was 86% elsewhere in the state. This is the reflection of the cumulative development and governance deficit that has afflicted these areas pushing people towards the Naxals, a government official said.
Officials expect monitoring at the state and central level and the selection of plans that will touch the lives of villagers living in the shadow of the gun could bring about a difference.