Planning Comm draws flak on less allocation to Environment Ministry

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New Delhi, Mar 16 (UNI) While concerns over the impending climate change and degradation of natural resources mount across the globe with governments pumping in money into their departments and agencies managing environment, in India the Ministry concerned is receiving miserly treatment from the apex finance and planning bodies.

The Centre and the Planning Commission have drawn flak from a Parliamentary Standing Committee for the paltry allocation made to the Ministry of Environment and Forests during the year 2007-08.

''We have serious concerns over the fact that there has been a severe curtailment of funds for the Ministry, despite the fact that there is a greater need to invest substantially to contain environmental degradation and global warming,'' the Parliamentary Standng Committee on Environment and Forests said in its 184th Report tabled in Parliament.

''There is just 1.2 per cent increase in overall budget allocations as compared to last year's amount. It appears that the Planning Commission has not even considered the normal rate of inflation,'' it said.

The Committee expressed its strong apprehension that with such tight budget, the Ministry would not be able to pursue its ongoing schemes with vigour.

The panel, however, also felt that the Ministry has not been able to project its funds requirements to the Planning Commission properly.

It has recommended that the Planning Commission should be properly sensitised to the issue of funds allocation, keeping in view the urgent need for environmental protection.

The Committee has further noted that expenditure cut during revised estimates are sometimes plainly arbitrary, and very often the budgeted amount is not fully utilised in the plan outlays or there is delay in approval of projects by the Expenditure Finance Committee(EFC).

It has thus recommended that the issues of budgetary demands need to be taken seriously and vigorously and emphatically presented and pursued with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Environment.

UNI NAZ AM HT130

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