Govt set to prune more central schemes

In order to provide close monitoring and implementation and give greater flexibility to states, the government may further prune Centrally sponsored schemes (CSS). Currently, there are 67 such schemes.

“The whole idea is to give more autonomy and power to states to run their administration and determine finances. There is no clarity as to how many schemes will remain Centrally sponsored, but next year’s Budget will see a significant pruning,” a government official told Deccan Herald.

The CSS numbers declined from 155 in 2005-06 to 99 in 2007-08 at the beginning of the Eleventh Plan Period, but subsequently increased to 147 in 2011-12. Last year’s budget saw a major pruning to 67.

Various committees set up by the government have from time to time suggested that these schemes be redesigned physically and financially so that they meet states' concerns.

Schemes with small outlays do not achieve the objective of making an impact across states. Such schemes are, therefore, not suitable for Central sponsorship, and need to be implemented by states, say experts.

A number of schemes with an average annual outlay of less than Rs 100 crore may be weeded out or merged with larger sectoral schemes, or even transferred to states, which can then continue with them based on their requirements, said officials.

The fresh proposal for weeding out CSS comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewed emphasis on states being given a key role in the overall development process.

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