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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

To assist state govts, role of plan panel to be redefined

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 21, 2014
First Published: 12:09 IST(21/7/2014) | Last Updated: 12:17 IST(21/7/2014)

To ensure that there is outcome based public expenditure the National Democratic Alliance government is set to re-define the role of the Planning Commission, mandated to monitor implementation of government schemes funded by the Centre. This, government sources say, would happen once the plan panel is reconstituted and that will happen soon.

The new members will be entrusted with the job to redefine the role of the planning commission to assist the state governments and the ministries in better implementation of schemes rather than creating road blocks. “The Planning Commission has to be a facilitator and it will do so with a set of changes to be implemented in the next few months,” a senior government functionary said.

“The prime minister wants that accountability of the officers should be introduced,” an officer said. For this to happen, the government plans to restructure the state plan divisions and hire more experts in the commission, which of late, had become a parking lot for bureaucrats not willing to go back to their state cadres. “More than half of the officials at the advisor level are IAS officers.

 The experts who retired have been replaced by IAS officers and the plan now does not have people with domain expertise in many specialised fields,” a person who has worked with the plan panel for over 30 years said. The move is in line with announcement of finance minister Arun Jaitley during the budget session of increasing Central assistance to the state for implementation of the schemes.

It means that the money provided to Central ministries under centrally sponsored schemes would directly flow to the states. In such a scenario, the Planning Commission’s role becomes important as it would have to ensure that the ministries that the funds are utilised for the purpose they are allocated and desired outcomes are achieved. The panel will also be coming out with new processes to meet the change in funding pattern proposed in the budget and will initiate consultation with the state governments during state plan discussions. Officials say that the final shape of the consultation will emerge once the deputy chairperson is appointed and the appointee holds discussion with state chief ministers.

 


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