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Weed out unproductive CSS: ASSOCHAM

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 26: With the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) underway, ASSOCHAM today made out a case for weeding out unproductive Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) bringing their number to half and to ensure timely implementation as also avoiding cost escalations.

In a note to the government, ASSOCHAM President Anil K Agarwal said that experience of the last 4-5 decades demonstrates that only 40 per cent of the CSS took off in a timely manner. Besides, there was a cost escalation in nearly 80 to 90 per cent of the schemes.

The Chambers, therefore, asked the government to evolve a consensus among States empowering the Planning Commission to create a basket out of important CSSs relating to social sector projects.

It noted that the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes have multiplied during the last decade reaching a staggering figure of more than 200.

Mr Agarwal called upon the National Development Council (NDC) to take a bold decision authorising the Plan Panel to ensure that productive schemes relating to the infrastructure sectors are retained. The process should involve regular consultations with the states. The other schemes which need to be retained relate to power, telecommunication, roads, ports, sea ports and economic zones as they are crucial for attracting investments from within and outside the country.

For this purpose, ASSOCHAM is of the view that one third of the plan outlay should be reserved exclusively for the Planning Commission to make allocations to finance such projects without any political and bureaucratic interference.

In ASSOCHAM's view, part of the problem relating to Centrally Sponsored Schemes is that they are implemented by states, who are often ill equipped to ensure their efficient delivery.

Mr Agarwal said the states generally do not keep the Central Ministries well informed about the day-to-day progress of these schemes.

He said a realistic number of Centrally Sponsord Schemes will not only ensure adequate funds but also their smooth performance.

UNI

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