NEW DELHI, Aug 7 � Disturbed by the slow pace of work in the Northeastern States, the Centre has decided to reward States with incentives. Good performing States would be allowed to retain projects up to Rs 20 crore over and above its entitlement.
To encourage States for timely completion of projects, it has been decided to provide an incentive to good performing States in terms of completion of projects by retaining projects as per State�s choice over and above its annual entitlement, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) said in its latest report to the Parliament.
To strengthen the monitoring of projects, the Ministry has instructed designated State-wise Area officers to make bi-monthly visits to the States for review of the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) schemes and also make field visits to project sites. The Chief Secretaries of the States have been advised to hold regular quarterly meetings.
The State Governments have been advised to plan the implementation of the projects in such a way that adverse impact of nature could not affect implementation and the projects may be executed with greater pace during the working season to compensate the loss of time during the monsoon season.
The DoNER Ministry�s reaction came after the department-related Standing Committee expressed its displeasure at the slow pace of project work. �Human beings have little or no control over the vagaries of nature. Likewise, the climatic peculiarities of the North East are not new and cannot and should not be used as a pretext for the slow pace of utilisation of funds and delayed completion of projects,� the Parliamentary Panel said in its report.
The DoNER Ministry came under criticism of the Parliamentary Panel, which remarked that they were not convinced with argument given by the Ministry for justifying the delay. The Committee also did not buy the argument that held the States responsible for under-utilisation of Central funds.
Besides revising the guidelines, proactive measures are required to be taken on part of the DoNER Ministry to ensure completion of projects within a stipulated time-frame, it was suggested.
Given the climatic conditions of the region, it would be a prudent step on the part of the administrative Ministry and the State Governments to organise the activities in a rational way to offset the adverse impact of nature, the Committee further advised.
The Parliamentary Committee also disagreed with the Planning Commission�s approach. The Commission should formulate initial projections and give approvals. If necessary, those may be reviewed later, it was further suggested.
The North Eastern Council (NEC�s) projected Central assistance for the 11th Plan period is Rs 7,394 crore. But allocations have been slashed by the Planning Commission.
Since the allocation made by the Commission is far less than the projected requirement in the first four years of the current Plan, the DoNER Ministry has proposed to project further requirements under various schemes, keeping in mind the outlay and allocations so far.
The Parliamentary panel has endorsed the proposal with a recommendation that the enhanced requirement of DoNER should be considered so that the projects are not affected for want of funds.
The Parliamentary Panel also felt that slashing of funds to NEC to Rs 700 crore from the projected Rs 1002.32 crore may hamper the on-going projects.