Move to deprive State of rural funds monitoring | india | Hindustan Times
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Move to deprive State of rural funds monitoring

DURING THE 11th Five Year Plan beginning from next year, the State Government is likely to get Rs 1,800 crore from the Centre for rural development in its 23000-odd Panchayats, but it won't have any control over the spending.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 14:57 IST

DURING THE 11th Five Year Plan beginning from next year, the State Government is likely to get Rs 1,800 crore from the Centre for rural development in its 23000-odd Panchayats, but it won't have any control over the spending.

The Union Government has proposed to transfer funds of rural development schemes directly to villages. The Centre itself will monitor its spending, bypassing the State Governments.

For monitoring, a parallel agency called District Panchayat Administrative Services (DPAS) is being set up. Hitherto, rural development funds are transferred directly to Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI) but the responsibility of performance rests with the State Government.

Surprisingly, officials of the Rural Development and Finance department have yet to understand implications of the proposal.

 “Though we heard about the proposal, we have yet to see its modalities,” remarked a senior officer of Panchayat and Rural Development department. 

During the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-07) the State has earmarked about Rs 1,450 crore and, in the next five year plan, it is likely to get about Rs 1,800 crore under various rural development schemes.

“The move will render the States powerless in important rural development programmes and deprive them of their budgetary allocations,” said former advisor of Asian Development Bank, Dr Sharad Jain. He urged Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to strongly take up the issue, reminding that the BJP  has always opposed direct funding of panchayats as it transgresses powers of the state governments.

Several States, including Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal have opposed the idea of direct funding of the Panchayati Raj institutions by the Centre for rural development schemes.

When contacted, Principal Secretary, Rural Development, Pradeep Bhargawa, said that if there are apprehensions about some states diverting rural funds, the Centre has the power to take due action. But it should not take away the federal powers of the states enshrined in the Constitution.

He told the Hindustan Times that the State Government had raised the issue of even directly transferring funds to District Panchayats at various fora and demanded that the Union Government ensured transfer of funds of rural development schemes through the State.

The State Government should be allowed to play its role and make allotment on the basis of achievement of a particular district, he added.  On transferring funds directly to villages, he said that he had not yet heard about it. However, if it happens it would create a lot of practical problems, as many villages of the State are not having any bank in the periphery of 5 to 10 km.