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Uncertain flow of Central funds worries state govt

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OST Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Aug 15 :

Uncertainty over  flow of  Central funds has forced the Odisha government to work out a new strategy to deal with such situations. Though the Union Government is sanctioning funds for the Central schemes and Centrally-sponsored schemes, its flow is neither smooth nor regular, said a senior official of the Finance department .

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The matter was taken up at a recent meeting of secretaries of various departments with the Development Commissioner Injeti Srinivas.

Finance Secretary UN Behera echoed the concerns of the secretaries of various departments over the irregular and poor flow of funds for Central schemes barring certain flagship programmes like the MGNREGS, PMGSY, IAY and SSA.

The secretaries pointed out that planning for a full year is adversely affected due to uncertain flow of funds from the Centre.

In view of this, it has been decided that in situations where Central funds are not immediately available, departments could chip in with funds meant for state schemes to ensure developmental projects do not suffer.

The Development Commissioner advised the secretaries to map the various programmes and rationalise the schemes in a manner that miniscule programmes could be kept on hold while work on major schemes can move uninterrupted.

Presently, some of the major departments run 100 to 150 schemes plus minuscule schemes of 50 lakh to one crore each per annum. Top officials are losing sight of these minor and miniscule schemes and, as a result, the delivery mechanism suffers, felt senior officials

The departments of Finance and Planning & Coordination will be jointly working out a strategy on the implementation of  the State Plan and Non-Plan schemes on the lines of the Union Government which has compressed 147 Centrally-sponsored schemes to just 66 for better coordination and monitoring.

The state government would now go in for major rationalisation of schemes based on the Result Framework Document (RFD) Plan, which is being worked out.

Now, each department will concentrate on three to four flagship programmes ,which would reflect the main objectives of the department and work out strategies to achieve results in a time-bound manner.

In the meantime, the Department of Finance has delegated more funding clearance powers to various departments, which would help the secretaries and ministers take financial decisions at their levels. Fund flow for a scheme involving Rs  25 crore during the Five-Year Plan period can now be cleared by the secretary with the minister’s approval.

However, schemes in which involves funds above Rs 250 crore over a Five Year Plan period will go to the State Cabinet for approval, said official sources. The decision would facilitate faster and effective decision-making as far as funding for schemes is concerned, said a senior secretary.