If Planning Commission have its way as many as 130 Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) may be scrapped from the next financial year.
A committee constituted by the Planning Commission has recommended that all schemes having annual outlay of less than Rs 300 crore should be scrapped except that for statistics and data collection. The basis for the recommendation is that there should be a minimum outlay of Rs 50 lakh for each district to make it effective.
The recommendation, the committee observed, will not make major difference in government’s planning for future. The annual expenditure on CCS below Rs 300 crore is just Rs 8,432 crore as compared to Rs 63,563 crores for CCS with budget of over Rs 300 crore.
In all, though only 18 ministries or government departments will be effected, the majority are related to social issues. Schemes like National River Conservation Plan, Project Tiger, Project Elephant, National Merit Scholarship Scheme, Scheme for Hostels for ST girls and boys, National Nutrition Mission, Kasturba Vidalaya Scheme, Vocational Education and Training and Assistance to new Polytechnics have been recommended for scrapping.
Another ramification of the recommendation can be administrative as some departments will have no central scheme to administer. “The role of such departments will remain of policy formation, monitoring and compliance of international convention,” said Arvind Varma, a former IAS officer, in the report.
The report also states that once the schemes are scrapped only 12 ministries will have CCS for operation. Schemes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services, Post Matric Scholarship for SC students and Pulse Polio will continue.
The Committee has also recommended that Planning Commission should rate each state into three categories — with per capita income higher than national average, lower than national average and special category states—for differential allocation of funds. An incentive fund of Rs 5,000 crore should be created for states performing well towards Millennium Development Goals.
For better utilisation of Central funds, the committee has stressed on computerisation of all records and better management at the level of Panchayati Raj institutions.
The report was discussed at the last full Planning Commission meeting but no final decision was taken. Decision is expected in next meeting slated for December.