Markets: Eerie calm

Markets: Eerie calm

it is not clear when market sentiment can change; as in the past, it can be quite sudden.
At a turn and yet not

At a turn and yet not

RBI could be tempted to cut policy rate to support growth at its bi-monthly review.

Welfare schemes wither away in Rohanpara’s mud huts

Jan 25 2013, 01:33 IST
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SummaryRohanpara is a small village in Ambedkar Nagar district, tucked away on the eastern fringes of Uttar Pradesh.

at the district headquarters. Even those responsible for their implementation don’t know exactly how many schemes are there,” said Shashi Bhushan.

For the country’s 6,38,365 villages, as many as 147 centrally sponsored schemes are being implemented at R1.80 lakh crore in the present fiscal. But people in Rohanpara allege that even the much-hyped rural employment guarantee scheme has failed to help. “Even under NREGA, we weren’t given any work, but now, we make our own work proposal and the BDO approves it. But even after all this, we get to work hardy 38 days a year. It’s too little to run a family of four,” said Nand Lal, who picks up odd jobs for daily wages.

However, Ajay Shukla, district magistrate of Faizabad, who also holds additional charge of the Faizabad division as commissioner, says: “The schemes are working well. There’s nothing wrong with them.” Shukla could not recall the exact number of schemes operational in his division which includes Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar districts, but cited NREGA and NRHM among those most in currency.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan, the government spent Rs 6,60,506 crore on 147 central sponsored schemes, which by the Planning Commission’s own admission, needs an overhaul, with sufficient flexibility for states to design schemes that suit different localities. About 80% of the outlay for CSS (Rs 5,24,466 crore) was spent on just nine flagship schemes in the 11th Plan.

The government is planning to restructure centrally-sponsored schemes next fiscal, reducing their number to a mere 49 from 147 this financial year. While the exercise is in line with the strategy to cut the CSS share to 35% in the 12th Five Year Plan from a peak of 42% in the previous Plan, the weeding-out or merger of a large number of schemes will also allow the government to spend more on select flagship schemes ahead of the 2014 general elections. This seems to be in order given that some of the smaller schemes have virtually been a drain on the exchequer without any apparent benefit to the people they are meant for.

Tomorrow: District administration wants flexibility in the designing of schemes

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