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FinmMin at loggerheads with Plan panel

Finance Ministry seems to be at loggerheads with the Planning Commission on funding of at least 60 centrally sponsored schemes.

business Updated: Jan 03, 2006 18:15 IST

Ahead of the General Budget for 2006-07, Finance Ministry seems to be at loggerheads with the Planning Commission on funding of at least 60 centrally sponsored schemes slated to cost the exchequer Rs 2,655 crore.

While Finance Ministry has insisted that the zero-based budgeting be made applicable to these schemes, as is applicable for state-sponsored schemes, and expenditures be curtailed, the Planning Commission is in favour of budgetary support to continue for these schemes in the terminal year of the Tenth Five Year Plan.

According to informed sources, the Finance Ministry has listed about 60 ongoing schemes, for which budgetary support could be curtailed.

The list includes Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) requiring Rs 26 crore, IITs (Rs 198 crore) and the IIMs (Rs 31.51 crore), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (Rs 81.5 crore), grants-in-aid and loans to Prasar Bharti worth Rs 337.23 crores, two schemes on consumer affairs worth Rs 93.46 crores.

Not satisfied with the Commission's observations, the Finance Ministry again wrote to the Commission, saying "continued funding to these programmes which are considered non-productive would mean wastage of state resources".

The Ministry suggested that the list of such centrally sponsored programmes prepared by it be considered for weeding out by the Planning Commission. The Commission is currently seized of the matter and would delve at length on the matter before communicating its official stand on the issue, sources said.

Among other schemes, for which the Finance Ministry says funding should be discontinued, are for Hindustan Copper Limited (Rs 40 crore, withdrawing grants-in-aid worth Rs 22.33 crores to the NE Development Finance Corporation, IREDA (Rs 70 crores) and grants-in-aid to ECIL of Rs nine crores.

In the shipping sector, the Finance Ministry has suggested stopping funding in investment in Port Trusts, Hindustan Shipyard and Hoogly Dock and Port Engineering Company Limited worth Rs 148.5 crores and recommended snapping funding to National Service Volunteers Scheme, National Integration Programme and National Reconstruction Corps to the tune of Rs 18.45 crores.

The Finance Ministry suggested snapping financial assistance worth Rs 344.3 crores for various schemes under I&B Ministry, Rs 350 crore -Nano Technology Programme, the mega cities development programme worth Rs 150 crore, besides four schemes under the Power Ministry worth Rs 42,26 crore.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 17:10 IST