State govt ensures project evaluation

State govt ensures project evaluation

Under the new regime, the evaluation of any programme may be carried out at least once during the five-year plan period. The creation of the new body – The Programme Evaluation Authority – will implement  a new evaluation policy which was also cleared by the Cabinet.

The proposed authority, which is likely to be formally come up within a month, will be chaired by the chief secretary. In all the authority will have 12 members.

The members include bureaucrats, subject experts from research organisations and representatives from non-governmental organisations. But politicians will not be represented on the panel.

The authority will be vested with the power to select any scheme of its choice or it can go by the suggestion by any of its members.   Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said the authority will help undertake impartial and objective assessment of public programmes and improve their effectiveness.

Karnataka will be the first state to set up such an authority and the move was appreciated by the Planning Commission at its recent regional meeting of southern states in Bangalore, Acharya said.

The state had introduced similar policies for evaluation of its schemes in 2000 and 2003 but it failed to yield the desired results. At present, the departments conduct internal evaluation of individual development projects.

Sources said the External Evaluation Authority is a brainchild of the Planning Commission. Even with the introduction of external evaluation by the authority, government agencies and departments may continue with their internal evaluation.

The findings of the independent evaluation will be reported to the state government and also placed in the public domain. The state has about 1,300 plan schemes with an outlay of about Rs  33,200 crore.

The outcome of the evaluation will be used to improve programme design and delivery. The authority will be a registered society with its own rules, regulations, finances, procedures and personnel.

Experts’ services

Experts in public administration, management, academics, civil society, among others will be appointed to take up evaluation work, according to  sources. The authority will be supported with Rs 10 crore financial grant by the state government for the discharge of its functions.

However, the evaluation should not exceed 1 per cent of the project cost with an upper ceiling of Rs 5 lakh. On an average, Rs 25 to 30 lakh is required to evaluate a project or a programme. The authority will have the power to commission training, consultancy and independent research to fine tune and value add scheme formulation.

It will focus more on evaluating the design or basic structure of a plan rather than finding financial irregularities as scams can be unearthed while auditing.  However, if financial irregularities are noticed, the authority can look into them.

The evaluation policy fixes responsibility on the heads of the departments for proper planning or evaluation of a programme at the stage of planning itself.  The remarks about how an officer planned a programme will be mentioned in his/her annual apprisal report, sources said.

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