New Delhi, Jul 29: Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have reported irregularities in implementation of Rs 7,266 crore package for parched Bundelkhand and took administrative action against 50 officers.
"The state governments (UP and MP) reported irregularities under Bundelkhand package. Administrative action was also taken against 17 officers/employees in Uttar Pradesh and 33 officers/employees in Madhya Pradesh," Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
On November 19, 2009, the Centre approved a special package of Rs 7,266 crore for implementation of drought mitigation strategies in Bundelkhand region which falls in Madhya Pradesh as well as Uttar Pradesh.
Under this package, Uttar Pradesh was allocated Rs 3,506 crore while Madhya Pradesh was to receive Rs 3,760 crore over a period of three years from 2009-10 to 2011-12. The Centre also approved an additional amount of Rs 200 crore to be distributed equally between two states for providing drinking water in the region.
The minister further informed the House that "the package was extended during 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF). Since 2015-16, the BRGF including Bundelkhand has been delinked from central funding."
According to the statement, the total funds released under the package were Rs 4,685.62 crore to both states since its inception in 2009. It includes Rs 2,110.67 crore to Uttar Pradesh and Rs 2,574.95 crore to Madhya Pradesh.
During the last three years (2013-14 to 2015-16), Rs 898.12 crore to UP and Rs 694.09 crore to MP were released. In 2014-15, no funds were released to Madhya Pradesh under the package.
In a separate reply to the House, the minister said a task force on elimination of poverty in India headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya has submitted its report to the Prime Minister on July 11, 2016.
The task force has recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on setting the poverty line, he added. Singh said the panel of experts is yet to be appointed.