States failed to utilise nearly Rs 30,000 crore meant for various flagship programmes like MGNREGA, even as the government promised to dole out Rs 99,000
crore for such schemes in the current fiscal.
"In 2012-13, about Rs 99,000 crore are being given to the states for rural development programmes. The responsibility for spending money on these programmes is entirely on state governments," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour today.
Ramesh said Rs 10,993 crore remained unspent under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Rs 5,859 crore under Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) last fiscal.
Besides, Rs 8,919 crore could not be utilised under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Rs 3,987 crore under Integrated Watershed Management Programme in 2011-12.
"The Central government provides the funds for rural development programmes which are broadly defined to include water supply and sanitation," he said.
Ramesh said, "There are very many practical problems in the field. I accept the point that we must work with the state governments to help them expand and improve their capacity to spend money. There is no shortage of money.
"There is no shortage of resources. But the real problem is in the ability of the states to spend money, particularly in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal on some programmes.
"Largely in central and eastern India, the administrative and technical capacity to spend money quickly in a transparent and accountable manner needs to be strengthened," he said.
The Minister said he was working with state governments to ensure that "this happens sooner rather than later".