The Centre today accepted a major recommendation of a chief ministers' panel on rationalisation of centrally-sponsored schemes, which had made a case for not exceeding the number of these programmes beyond 30. The panel had also recommended increasing the quantum of flexi funds under the CSS to 25 per cent from 10 per cent. This option provides states the liberty to use funds under a scheme to achieve the mandated objective. On its part, the Centre has approved raising this flexi fund option to 25 per cent for states and 30 per cent for Union Territories (UTs). "The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted major recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Minsters on Rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs)," a press release said. The sub-group had examined 66 CSSs and recommended that the number should not normally cross 30. The statement said a consensus was reached on many contentious issues not just among the states represented in the sub-group but other states\/UTs through regional consultations and meetings with Union ministries and departments. The rationalisation is expected to ensure optimum utilisation of resources with better outcome through area-specific interventions. This would also ensure wider reach of benefits to target groups, it said. As per the statement, these CSSs are classified into 28 broad slabs and divided into three categories - Core of the Core (six), Core (nineteen) and Optional Schemes (two). One of the major recommendations of the sub-group was that the total number of schemes should not exceed 30. Second, the panel recommended categorisation of schemes into Core of the Core, Core and Optional schemes. The panel had said the Core schemes should comprise all programmes having National Development Agenda where the Centre and states will work together in spirit of Team India. The Core of the Core schemes should include programmes for social protection and social inclusion. They will have the first charge on available funds for the Development Agenda. The optional schemes are those where states will be free to choose the ones they wish to implement. Funds for these schemes will be allocated to states by the Ministry of Finance as a lumpsum. According to the statement, the existing funding pattern of the Core of the Core schemes will continue, under which the Centre provides entire funds. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MNREGS) is a case in point. As for Core schemes, in the case of 8 north-eastern states and 3 Himalayan ones, the Centre and states will share the burden in the ratio of 90:10 per cent. Similarly for other states, the Centre and state funding will be in the ratio of 60:40 per cent. For UTs (without a legislature), the Centre will provide 100 per cent funding. Similarly, for optional schemes in the case of 8 north-eastern and 3 Himalayan states, the funds will be provided by the Centre and states in the ratio of 80:20 per cent. For other states, the burden will be shared equally. For UTs without legislature, the Centre will bear the entire funding for optional schemes. For those with a legislature, the Centre and the UT will provide funds in the ratio of 80:20 per cent. It said that while designing the CSS, the central ministries shall permit flexibility in the choice of components to the states as available under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikaas Yojana (RKVY). Moreover, the flexi funds available in each CSS has been raised from the current level of 10 per cent to 25 per cent for the states and 30 per cent for UTs of the overall annual allocation under each scheme so that the implementation can be better attuned to the needs of individual state The sub-group was set up in pursuance of the decision taken in the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog held on February 8, 2015. The guiding principles of the sub-group had been to resolve the issues between Union and the states\/UTs and work as Team India in the spirit of cooperative federalism towards realisation of the goals of Vision 2022. The idea is to provide basic amenities to all citizens in an equitable and just manner for ensuring a life with self-respect and dignity, and providing appropriate opportunities to every citizen to realise his\/her potential.