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NITI Aayog to evaluate UTs every quarter to keep track of Centres' schemes

By Ians

New Delhi, June 22: With a focus on tracking implementation of centrally-sponsored schemes, the NITI Aayog will begin to evaluate quarterly performances of Union Territories (UTs) in the country.

File photo of Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant (left) with vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya

The process will kick off from July, with an evaluation of the April-June quarter. The Aayog plans to create an online dashboard, where all UTs would be required to upload their data.

"We will then evaluate the performance of the UTs based on the information provided," an Aayog official, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

Both categories of UTs -- with state assemblies and without -- would be evaluated. Delhi and Puducherry have state assemblies.

The move comes after directions from the Prime Minister's Office to the premier policy think tank to start the evaluation from the current financial year, the official said.

The evaluation would be based on scale and impact of developmental measures and implementation of centrally-sponsored schemes undertaken by UT administrations.

The government had, in March 2015, constituted a Sub-Group of chief ministers, coordinated by the Aayog on the rationalisation of such schemes.

The sub-group submitted its report in October 2015, following which the Union Cabinet accepted its major policy recommendations in August 2016, but many of the practical concerns of the Union Territories remained.

The government now seems to be moving in this direction by asking the Aayog to monitor and help UTs with respect to central schemes.

"There has been an impression that some Union Territories lag behind for some reason or the other in the implementation of developmental schemes compared with the states," the official said adding that details would be sought regarding schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and others.

In case the planning body finds lapses in implementation of any scheme, it would suggest steps to improve their performance. "The idea is not only to evaluate but also to aid improvement," the official said.

During consulations with the chief ministers sub-group, the UTs had demanded that since the Fourth Finance Commission recommendations were not applicable to them, the central schemes should be 100 per cent funded by the Union Government.

Last year, the Cabinet approved a recommendation to that effect for UTs without legislatures.

"Despite their size and requirement, UTs are compelled to implement a very large number of centrally-sponsored schemes with very low budgetary allocations. This is unsatisfactory and not sustainable," the sub-group's report said.

The sub-group recommended that UTs should be given flexibility in choosing the sectors in which they have identified potential and would benefit from focusing on them.


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