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To avoid delays in projects,Plan panel sets targets for core sector ministries

In a departure from its business-as-usual approach,UPA-II is set to ensure accountability of its ministers manning core sector ministries....

Written by Priyadarshi Siddhanta | New Delhi |
May 15, 2010 1:01:14 am

In a departure from its business-as-usual approach,UPA-II is set to ensure accountability of its ministers manning core sector ministries. The Manmohan Singh government has now finalised plans to come out with the performance of these ministries.

At the government’s behest,the Planning Commission has completed a comprehensive exercise wherein it has finalised the annual targets for infrastructure ministries like power,railways,road transport and aviation. To be unveiled by the Panel’s deputy chairman,Montek Singh Ahluwalia,on Monday,the blueprint vetted by the Prime Minister will have assigned targets for the year for these ministries. The blueprint will also contain financial arrangements chalked out and will mandate the ministries to furnish the Plan panel with its performance report every quarter.

The government’s concern is understandable,as progress in almost all sectors has witnessed a slowing down. For example,power generation has has fallen below target by 2.3 per cent (17.96 billion units) between now and April 2009. Similarly,the road sector has failed to keep pace and has slowed down by 15.5 per cent (491.06 km),while the Railways’ revenue earnings from goods traffic has depleted by 0.2 per cent,according to an official note on the core sectors.

Similarly,coal production has declined from the targeted 431.27 MT to 403 MT in the last fiscal. Also,steel production was 975 MT against a targeted 1,009 MT in the same period — indicating a decline of over 3 per cent. Power production too witnessed a dismal scenario,with the country registering electricity production of 771.55 billion units against a targeted production of 789.51 BU,according to the note.

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“The arrangement is expected to ensure that all avoidable delays in the execution of infrastructure projects would be taken care of before they become endemic problems,” a plan panel source said. To make this exercise a potential challenge to both politicians and public officials manning these ministry,the Commission has been entrusted with the responsibility to consider the review reports to the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI). The model is expected to detect where faults lay and ensure timely corrections as well as identifying the problem. The government has already put flagship programmes under constant monitoring and more direct intervention has been resorted to.

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