Rs 35,00,000 crore development funds for 12th plan
Focus to be on harnessing demographic dividend and improving health and education.delhi Updated: Jul 23, 2012 21:09 IST
Despite the economic slowdown, the UPA-II is set to double allocation for key social sector and infrastructure schemes in the 12th five-year plan in a bid to harness country’s youth demographic divident.
Country’s top advisory body, the Planning Commission is likely to earmark around Rs 35,00,000 crore for the 12th plan (2012-17) likely to be placed before the Union Cabinet next month. The plan would be ready for implementation once it is approved by the National Development Council -- a body of key Central ministries and all state chief ministers -- sometime this September.
The increase is huge considering that the size of the 11th plan (2007-12) was Rs 14,21,000 crore and of the 10th plan (2002-2007) 7,06,000 crore.
The plan panel insiders point that the Rs 35,00,000 crore can be misleading as there has been some juggling of schemes to indicate substantial increase. "Several erstwhile non-plan schemes such as police modernization and banks capitalisation are now part of the plan allocations," a senior planning commission official said.
Still, the official said, the social sector -- health and education -- and youth development will get a huge leap in allocations in the 12th plan. In addition, there will be increase in Central funding for the country’s 200 most backward districts.
The Central government plans to allocate around one lakh crore for supporting a scholarship scheme to support meritorious students from schools to the doctorate level. "We aim to provide skill training to every school or college leaving student," a senior plan panel functionary said, adding that would be adequate funds for research and quality education. "Funds will not be a constraint," the functionary said.
With health being considered the biggest contributor to in-debtness in rural economy, the government would be launching a National Health Mission to cover entire country in the 12th plan. The new scheme will provide an insurance cover for basic medical requirements and better public health facilities. Officials, however, said that several recommendations of an expert group of Universalisation of Health may remain unimplemented because of fund shortage.
The panel also wants to change how the Central government schemes are implemented but its proposal is being resisted by the Central government ministries. The panel wants the state governments to have flexibility in spending around 40% of the Central funds as per ground realities but the Central ministries are willing to loose their hold over how the money is spent.
“For every penny, the state governments have to take approval of the Centre. The state project has to fit into one universal model. It often results in delays and poor project implementation,” an official said, adding that the panel wants to “reform it”.
The final picture will emerge once the full Planning Commission meets in this August.