Secretaries' report paints a grim picture of PM’s pet schemes

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2015 01:02 IST

The NDA government’s Jan Dhan Yojna might have recorded a sharp rise in opening bank accounts but it faces several hurdles in its way to become an effective tool of financial inclusion.

A report compiled for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with inputs from 46 top-ranking secretaries of the government of India, expresses concern over shoddy implementation of many more schemes across different sectors.

The internal report, accessed by HT, calls for a cutting down on number of central schemes to give states freedom to pick their own projects to address local needs.

“Central government schemes are rigid and do not allow flexibility in implementation. The states should be free to innovate and design schemes,” commented one bureaucrat. Another secretary said, “number of schemes need to be reduced and more funds need to be given to states as united funds.”

The six-page report concluded: "There is a need for enhanced public participation, decentralization and public ownership of schemes."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked secretary-level officers at the Centre to go back to their first place of posting and come back with a report on its progress. The consolidated report of the visits shows major flaws in government schemes and its implementation.

On Jan-Dhan Yojna, the report mentioned "Lack of information among account holders about minimum transactions and use of ATM cards" and "no awareness about availing insurance facilities". "An entire sub-division in Manipur appears to have no commercial banking facility," a secretary had pointed out.

Unemployment has been flagged as "most pressing problem facing the youth" by 29 secretaries. "Young boys and girls are often jobless after completing their intermediate courses, graduation etc. Such education does not contribute to livelihood," said the report, accessed by HT. As many as 25 secretaries have reported that no new industries gave come up in the majority of areas visited by them, drying up employment opportunities.

"Deplorable sanitation conditions" have been flagged by 28 secretaries. "In many areas, public toilets remain defunct, uncared for. And in most cases, are used for storage of goods," the report added.

A committee of secretaries, headed by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, will hold a meeting next week on this report to recommend changes in the policies of the Centre.

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