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Panel members to hit road for review

The country's top plan body wants to gauge the impact of various central government schemes on people just before the elections, reports Chetan Chauhan.
Hindustan Times | By Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 04, 2008 01:41 AM IST

The country's top plan body wants to gauge the impact of various central government schemes on people just before the elections. So it has decided to send its members to various states in the next one-and-a-half months. Stated reason mid-term appraisal of the schemes. Probable reason educating people about the benefits of these schemes.

In a first, a decision was made on Tuesday at an internal meeting of the Planning Commission. “We are in the middle of second year of the 11th plan in which special schemes have been launched. It is sort of a mid-term review," the commission's deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said when asked about the idea behind the decision.

Although technically the 11th plan is in its second year, it was approved only in November last year. Most of the schemes envisaged in the plan are still in the nascent stage whereas some have been introduced from this financial year only. This makes it apparent that the visits will provide the government more than just feedback on its schemes.

Normally, the commission hires consultations to conduct mid-term appraisal of the schemes. But, the commission has decided to take a break from this age-old tradition. Starting from mid-July, each planning commission member will visit the states, for which he or she is responsible in the commission. Ahluwalia said the members have been asked to submit their report within a few months, probably before August-end.

During the visit, the members will also review implementation of flagship programmes, which the UPA government believes has brought change in rural lives and can help them in elections.

The government has been claiming success of National Employment Guarantee Programme, under which more than 1.8 crore people have got a bank account, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, which has brought 94 per cent children to schools and inclusive development schemes for benefit of SC/ST and minorities. Similarly, the government claims to have provided Rs 1,32,000 crores for rural roads for connecting villages with the mainstream.

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