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Centre asks states to speed up utilisation of funds for rural dev

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 30 (UNI) Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today lamented the slow pace of utilisation of resources by the states for rual development programmes and urged them to speed it up so that the target of providing safe drinking water to all by 2009 and total sanitation by 2012 could be achieved.

Reviewing the performance of various programmes of the Department of Drinking Water Supply being implemented in 11 States and 3 Union Territories of the country at a meeting of state Secretaries here, Dr Singh said that they must ensure 60 per cent expenditure of the available resources by the end of September 2006 so as to become eligible for second instalment.

The funds are provided to the States under Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP), National Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme, Swajaldhara, 12th Finance Commission and Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). The states implementing the programme are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.

It has generally been felt that the pace of utilisation of the resources by almost all the States is slow and it requires special efforts. Under ARWSP against the available resources, Andhra Pradesh has incurred expenditure of Rs 60 crore against the availability of Rs 176 crore, Karnataka Rs 47 crore against Rs.87 crore, Kerala Rs 6 crore against Rs 31 crore. Tamil Nadu Rs 7.52 crore against Rs 90 crores, Rajasthan Rs 51 crore against Rs 286 crore, Uttar Pradesh Rs 40 crore against Rs 245 crore, Uttaranchal Rs.6 crore against Rs 52 crore, Madhya Pradesh Rs 15 crore against Rs 92 crore, Gujarat Rs 22 crore against Rs 62 crore. Maharashtra has been provided Rs 358 crore and Chhattisgarh Rs 64 crore but they have not yet reported the expenditure.

Under ARWSP(DDP), unspent funds are lying with the States in Andhra Pradesh (Rs 14 crore), Rajasthan (125 crore), Karnataka (12 crore), Gujarat (Rs 2.5 crore). The programme emphasises on ensuring coverage of NC/PC habitations of CAP 99 so as to achieve the objectives of Bharat Nirman. Coverage of slip back habitations as per targets fixed for Bharat Nirman and coverage of quality effective habitations as per objective of Bharat Nirman are to be achieved by the States.

The Department of Drinking Water Supply has decided that all the schools of the country must have drinking water facility by March 31, 2007. All States are trying to achieve this target. State Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh have assured that within the given time-frame, they would be able to achieve the target.

As per reports available, large number of schools in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are without drinking water facility, for which concern has been expressed.

On the recommendations of the 12th Finance Commission, Ministry of Finance has released about Rs.4,000 crore as grant to the local bodies for strengthening water supply and sanitation facilities. For the purpose of effective and coordinated utilisation of these resources, a High Level Committee at the level of Chief Secretaries of the States has been constituted.

The Secretaries have been asked to coordinate with the Departments of Panchayati Raj and Finance of the State Governments to see that these resources are utilised as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission. It has further been emphasised that with these substantial resources, the drinking water and sanitation efforts should get wider coverage.

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