India’s development plan for Naxal affected areas will get bigger and better with coverage of all tribal areas from the next financial year.
The Planning Commission has decided to initiate a Central India tribal development plan covering tribal areas from Gujarat to West Bengal and from Bihar till Andhra Pradesh and will include all existing tribal developmental schemes.
“The plan will cover all those areas where naxals have influence or can have influence in future because of the development deficit as desired by the Prime Minister,” said a senior plan panel official, adding around 120 districts will come under its purview.
The Union Cabinet in 2010 had approved an Integrated Action Plan (IAP) of Rs 3,500 crore for 60 naxal affected districts providing money to each of these districts to carry out development works not covered under existing Central government schemes. Each district was supposed to get Rs 25 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 30 crore in 2010-11.
The plan panel officials said, from next April, also the first year of the 12th five year plan, the IAP will get subsumed in the new tribal development plan having a twin objective of bridging development deficit with improvement in overall governance in tribal belt of India.
With it, several other schemes in tribal areas such as food nutrition scheme for KBK (Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi) districts will be part of the new plan to bring better focus.
Money will be provided to each district for strengthening the village bodies (gram sabhas) to take a decision on what types of developmental works they want to carry out just like other Panchayati Raj institutions in rest of the rural India. “Tribals’ participation in carrying out development works will become a must,” a plan panel functionary said, point out that the plan will have several elements of inclusiveness.
In the first two years, uniform money will flow to all districts for empowering gram sabhas including appointment of panchayat secretaries and thereafter, the fund release would be conditional. Only those districts that meet conditions for fund release in first two years will continue to get money for development, the functionary said.
To ensure third party monitoring of the development work, the panel wants to periodic inspection by a committee having civil society members and officials. Social audit on the utilization of the money similar to the one in National Rural Employment Gurantee Programme would also be another provision of the new plan.
The financial aspects of the plan are yet to be finalized.