CMs Panel priortises Rural Schemes with smooth funding

Chief Ministers Sub-Group submits final report on rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes CSS and recommends pruning of their number from 72 to 50
CMs Panel priortises Rural Schemes with smooth funding

Going by the recommendations of the Chief Ministers’ Sub-Group on CSS, the Centre is expected to restructure the schemes and funding in the next financial year. With restructuring and new pattern of funding, Schemes like MNREGA, Pension, Health, Irrigation and Power are expected to get priority and rural India would be the main beneficiaries of this restructuring.

Though the CMs’ panel has recommended the implementation of the recommendation in the current fiscal itself, however, the restructured schemes are expected to be introduced in the next fiscal with announcement of Union Budget. According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given ‘in principle’ approval to the recommendations. If recommendations are accepted in totality, the CSS will be pruned to 50 from 72.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi after submitting the Report to the Prime Minister, Convener of the Group and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “It is a report based on consensus and we have recommended the reduction of CSS to 50 with three broad categories such as Core, Core of Core and Optional. Funding pattern for Core of Core sector should 90:10 whereas for Core sector it should 60: 40. For state based schemes which come under Optional category, the funding on the basis of 50:50 has been recommended.”

Chauhan and seven other Chief Ministers including Vasundhara Raje Scindia (Rajasthan), K Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana), Raghubar Das (Jharkhand), Mufti Mohammed Sayeed (Jammu & Kashmir), Okram Ibobi Singh (Manipur), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh) and Lt General AK Singh (Andaman & Nicobar) met the Prime Minister and made their recommendations and held discussion on rationalising CSS that were unwieldy and difficult to implement.

According to the experts, the Centre would prune CSS from the current list of 72 following larger funds devolution made to states in sync with recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.. The Centre has began devolving 42 per cent of its tax revenues to states.

The first category- Core will mostly include the Centre’s flagship schemes and those designed with statutory backing like rural employment guarantee, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Mid-day meal scheme and others. Core of Core would include schemes related to mainly Health, Irrigation and Power. All other schemes would be bracketed into another category for implementation by states.

The Panel has also recommended that they be allowed flexibility in spending at least 25 per cent funds under any of the centrally sponsored schemes. Currently, states have flexibility on spending up to 10 per cent funds received under CSS projects.

On financing, the panel has mooted that the Centre’s share should not be less than 50 per cent on the project costs. For the 11 special category states, the panel has mooted financing CSS projects by the Centre and states in the ratio of 90:10 as against prevailing 80:20. The Panel has made this recommendation given the ‘precarious funds position’ in several states and meager revenue sources.

The Chief Ministers Sub-Group has emphasised that financial support must be continued for on-going projects where more than 50 per cent milestones have been achieved without ‘cost and time’ over-runs. It is also suggested that the sharing pattern under which the project was approved should also continue till March 2017. If the projects remain incomplete even thereafter, state would have to complete the project using their own funds.

The sub-group was constituted by the Prime Minister in March this year.

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BK Jha is the Special Correspondent of Rural & Marketing. Prior to this he has been associated with The Hindustan Times, Political and Business Daily along with many other media organisations.
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