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130 Govt schemes to be scrapped

A Planning Commission report recommends scrapping of all schemes that have annual outlay of less than Rs 300 crore, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2006 19:03 IST

Eighteen Central government ministries will have no scheme to administer and 12 ministries will have loads of work, if the Planning Commission's report on winding 130 Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) is accepted by the government.

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 those 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. India has 600 districts.

The recommendation, the committee observed, will not make a major difference in government's planning for future. The annual expenditure on CSS below Rs 300 crore is just Rs 8,432 crore as compared to Rs 63,563 crores for CSS with budget of over Rs 300 crore.

The 18 ministries or government departments that will be affected are mostly related to social sector like Ministry of Environment and Forest, Social Welfare Ministry, Tribal Affairs Ministry, Department of Animal Husbandary, Labour Ministry, Road Transport and Highways ministry and Urban Development ministry.

Another ramification of the recommendation can be of administrative nature. Work in most of the departments having no scheme to administer will fall drastically.

"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.

This apparently can create heartburns among bureaucracy. A labour ministry official pointed out that scrapping of the schemes will create more problems than solutions.

"Most states don't have system to monitor the schemes. Instead, the government should give more powers to the ministries for accountability and proper monitoring," he said.

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 the 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.

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.