Centre may prune schemes, curtail social sector spending
The first full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi government will see the number of centrally-sponsored schemes be halved from the present 66 to allow the focus to shift to new “transformational” schemes announced by the prime minister.india Updated: Feb 18, 2015 23:32 IST
The first full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi government will see the number of centrally-sponsored schemes be halved from the present 66 to allow the focus to shift to new “transformational” schemes announced by the prime minister.
This is part of the government’s attempt to “rationalise” spending for the social sector which grew by more than seven times during the UPA regime and check the so-called misuse of public funds. “Only a handful of the earlier schemes will be implemented by the Centre. The rest will be directly implemented by the state governments,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity, adding that priority would be on PM Modi’s 12 key projects like Make in India and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.
The Prime Minister’s Office has constituted a committee of chief ministers to propose a mechanism for the transfer. The committee is expected to submit its report within a month. “We believe about 30-35 schemes can be transferred to state governments so they can own these schemes,” an official said, adding the BK Chaturvedi report on restructuring centrally-sponsored schemes had also emphasised on transferring these schemes — a recommendation the UPA did not implement.
The broad rule being considered for transfer of schemes like welfare of scheduled castes and tribes, sanitation and national horticulture mission to the states was the Centre should not have much role to play in state subject schemes. “The Centre can frame broad national development goals but states should have their own schemes to achieve these goals,” a government functionary said.
“Many of these schemes have suffered because the states have not provided their share of funds…States in their budget should provide for their share and give a commitment. Once that is done, the Centre will release the money,” the official said, adding that a mechanism for this was being tuned in consultation with the states.
Officials say the move will result in rationalisation of its social sector budget depending on the financial capacity of the states to implement them and will reduce Centre’s share and subsequent spending in the social sector.