January 12, 2011 1:37:01 am
Taking a swipe at the Home Ministry,the Planning Commission has written to the Prime Minister that the governments integrated action plan for Naxal-affected districts that advocates a centralised structure for funding and assessment of schemes is deeply retrogressive and will only serve to increase risk of alienation in tribal areas.
On November 25 last year,the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the action plan and said that a committee comprising the Collector,Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer would decide how to spend Rs 25 crore allocated to each district for the current financial year.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Planning Commission Member Mihir Shah said: Giving exclusive powers to these kinds of committees is likely to only reinforce the feelings of a deep sense of exclusion by the tribal people.
Endorsing Shahs review,Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said such discretionary powers would not have any positive impact.
This will only result in a feeling of disempowerment among the people and leave them disenchanted, Ahluwalia wrote in his note to the PM while forwarding Shahs letter to the Prime Minister.
Since none of our recommendations have been accepted,I suggest the scheme be transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs or any other department deemed suitable, Shah told the PM.
The Planning Commission had suggested that a committee with representatives from Panchayati Raj institutions and civil society was better equipped to assess the needs of the tribal people. And that funds be provided to the districts based on a mix of parameters such as poverty ratio,population,area size and percentage of tribal population.
The CCEA,however,decided on a block grant of Rs 25 crore and Rs 30 crore per district during 2010-11 and 2011-12,respectively.
The Plan panel had proposed that funds,in subsequent years,be routed through the Backward Region Grant Funds and only after recipient districts and states meet reform conditionalities such as implementation of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act in letter and spirit.
Indeed,the Honourable Home Minister,among others,has often correctly observed that more money down the same leaky pipes without reform will not serve any useful purpose. Many commentators have further said that more money without reform is in danger of landing in the hands of Maoists themselves, Shah wrote to the PM.
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