6 yrs on,scheme for backward districts takes off

After six years,the Central government’s Backward Region Grant Fund scheme has finally taken off in Uttar Pradesh.

Written by Tarannum Manjul | Lucknow | Published:July 11, 2009 2:11 am

After six years,the Central government’s Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) scheme has finally taken off in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier,the scheme was stalled as there was no clear direction on how the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) should use the money allocated under the scheme.

Now,a classification has been made regarding how much the PRIs and the District Programme Committees (DPC) can sanction for projects under the scheme. “While Panchayati Raj Institutions will allocate money for projects worth below Rs 50,000,projects with funds above Rs 50,000 will be managed by the DPC,” said M K Tiwari,Project Director (UP) for BRGF.

The BRGF was launched by the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj in 2003 under the scheme Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojna. Aimed at bridging development gaps in the most backward districts of the country,the scheme was rechristened as BRGF in 2006.

In Uttar Pradesh,34 districts were chosen for the project. The project was to be implemented through the PRIs,with each district being allocated around Rs 45 crore. In all,the Centre has already allocated Rs 545 crore allocated to the state government. But with PRIs not being given directions on how they can use the money,the allocated fund was lying unused.

“Initially,though each district had a budget provision of over Rs 45 crore,no one knew how the funds were to be utilised. Now,since panchayats are clear about the amount of money they can use,they have started sanctioning smaller projects. Work is picking up with almost 30 districts having sanctioned projects worth Rs 3 to 4 crore,” said Tiwari.

Beginning July,the PRIs — gram panchayat,kshetra panchayat and nagar panchayat — have started sanctioning money for various projects. According to sources in

the state Panchayati Raj department,while progress in western part of the state is better than the eastern region,the department is focussing on eastern UP districts and Bundelkhand.

“Five districts of Bundelkhand come under this scheme. We have already started reviewing the progress made in these districts. We have also started asking for project reports and details of sanctions from eastern UP districts,” said an official.

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