'Cut oil subsidy to generate funds'

'Cut oil subsidy to generate funds'

Appealing to the government to ensure ‘comprehensive’ public policies for the country, Planning Commissioner member B K Chaturvedi on Tuesday said the Commission’s recommendations to slash the subsidy for oil corporations could help the nation in spending on vital sectors like education and healthcare.

Delivering the keynote address at the international conference on ‘Public Policy and Governance’ at the Indian Institute of Science, Chaturvedi said subsidies given to the oil sector were eating into the coffers of the Centre.

“If the Planning Commission recommendation for slashing the subsidies to oil companies from four per cent to two per cent is accepted, it will provide more money in the market for public expenditure in healthcare and education,” he said.

While appreciating the thinking behind the public policies of the Centre like the Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) and the  Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Chaturvedi said there was an urgent need to subject such schemes to social audit.

“The design of these public schemes needs to be comprehensive. With more and more cases of siphoning off of money coming forth, it is important to ensure that a third party, independent audit is provided.

This will ensure that those looking to deceive the people will think twice before siphoning off the money meant for such schemes,” he said.

More importantly, Chaturvedi said, the government needed to have a social audit in the infrastructure sector where lot of private sector interest is being evinced.

“There needs to be safeguard in infrastructure projects as large scale private investments are expected. There needs to be a regulation model to monitor the investments,” Chaturvedi said.