Funds crunch hits reorganisation

Formation of new taluks may be taken up in phased manner, says Home Minister V S Acharya

The government will not be able to carve out new taluks in the current year due to the recession. Home Minister V S Acharya has said that even when the formation of new taluks are taken up, it will be in a phased manner due to fund crunch. Similar views have been expressed by Revenue Minister Karunkara Reddy.

The government had earlier constituted the Vasudevrao commission (1973), the T M Hundekar Committee (1984) and the PC Gaddigoudar Committee (1986) to look into the demands for formation of new districts and taluks.

The Prakash committee is the fourth such.

The government has announced that it will look into the recommendations of the earlier three committees, besides the latest report, before taking a final decision to carve out new taluks.

Financial constraints

Secretariat sources said that finances, especially in a recession-hit year, would be a major constraint to form even one new taluk.

The total expenditure for the formation of 43 taluks is projected at Rs 756.68 crore.
Mobilising such huge funds, especially in the time of recession, is not just possible, official sources said.

The government has not announced a time-frame to implement the recommendations of the Prakash report.

The Prakash committee report points out that there is no uniformity when it comes to the extent of area of the existing taluks. While the average area of a taluk in Karnataka is 1,090 sq km with a population of about 3 lakh, the national average is 603 sq km with 1.9 lakh population.

 M B Prakash points out that the larger the taluks, the bigger the problems.
“Administration can reach the people faster if the taluks are smaller. People and government have to meet frequently. Every taluk headquarter will have at least 15 government offices,” he says.

Smaller, better?

If the ‘smaller is the better’ concept holds good, then Gudibande in Chikkaballapur district should have been the ideal taluk. As a matter of fact, even Sringeri in Chikmagalur district should have got best of the best facilities because of  its small population. In reality, both these taluks lack infrastructure.

A senior IAS officer says, “When we can do business with America over phone and internet, why can’t we administer a small or a big taluk properly? Instead of implementing expensive proposals like formation of new taluks, what should be done is to change the attitude of government employees to deliver better. Technology alone cannot improve administration. It is work culture which needs to overhauled.”

Whatever may be the arguments for and against the formation of new taluks, the subject is politically sensitive because there are demands for taluks other than which have been proposed by the Prakash committee.

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