District planning centres set up only in 17 states

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 29 2007, 06:03am hrs
Only 17 states have so far set up district planning committees (DPCs), which is a mandatory constitutional requirement. These are Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. In Tripura, the constitution of DPCs is in advanced stage.

Among states where DPCs are yet to be constituted are Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.

It may be recalled that the Planning Commission had issued guidelines to states to prepare district plans. The DPCs are required to consolidate the plans prepared by panchayats for activities assigned to them, central and state government schemes implemented by them and schemes implemented with their own resources. Similar plans prepared by municipal corporations in urban areas are also to be incorporated in the district plans.

The 11th Schedule of the Constitution lists 29 items that the state governments should devolve to panchayats. It is also mandated that the devolution should be complete with powers, functions and functionaries. According to data available with the Union ministry for panchayati raj, the process of devolution of powers, functions and functionaries to the panchayats has been tardy till now.

Kerala and Karnataka are the only two states that have panchayat sector window in their budgets, largely matching functional devolution. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, too, have panchayat sector window in their budgets, but with degrees of mismatch between functional devolution and fiscal assignments. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttarakhand have, however, agreed to create separate budget windows for the panchayat sector.

As the preparation of district plans require plan proposals to come from the bottom level, activity mapping at grassroots becomes a necessary criteria. The panchayati raj ministry has noted that only Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa, West Bengal, Haryana, Assam and Sikkim have issued notification for activity mapping. In Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, the panchayati raj Acts incorporate detailed role for village panchayats and, therefore, include activity mapping.

Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are in the process of notifying and operationalising activity mapping, while Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and Tripura are yet to consider the issue of activity mapping.