Recast of Centrally sponsored schemes gets Cabinet nod

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 21 2013, 14:56pm hrs
Centrally sponsored schemesGovt approved Planning Commission?s proposal to merge over 140 centrally sponsored schemes. (Reuters)
The government on Thursday approved Planning Commissions proposal to merge over 140 centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) and bring it down to 66 across various sectors for effective implementation and monitoring of the 12th Five Year Plan.

The Union Cabinet, which met on Thursday, also decided to amend the implementation guidelines of these schemes to match the requirements of states and allow them to spend up to 10 per cent of the allocated funds, which has been christened as flexi funds.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that the district authorities would now be less hassled as they would now have to implement lesser schemes. Those schemes have been restructured to 66 as most of them were found to be overlapping. Ahluwalia said that full restructuring will be applicable from the next financial year and will be implemented for the remaining years of the 12th Five Year Plan.

In Budget estimates of 2013-14, provision has been made for 137 CSS and 5 scheme-based additional central assistance (ACA), excluding block grants.

States, now, will have the flexibility to incur expenditure for a scheme provided a project conforms to the broad guidelines. This, Ahluwalia said, is very important so as to achieve the broader objectives of a programme.

To suit the requirements of the states, the Cabinet has also approved that a scheme may have state specific guidelines which may be recommended by an inter-ministerial committee constituted for this purpose, a statement issued by the government said.

Besides, the financial assistance in these schemes would be provided through the consolidated funds of the states. For each new scheme, at least 25 per cent of funds may be contributed by the general category states and 10 percent of funds by the special category states including Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the statement said.