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A file photo of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. Photo: Mint
A file photo of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. Photo: Mint

GoM clears reduction of central govt schemes

In September, finance minister P. Chidambaram had suggested that small schemes with small outlays should be eliminated

New Delhi:
The number of centrally sponsored schemes is to be reduced from 147 to 70, a group of ministers headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar decided on Thursday.

“This will reduce schemes which have overlapping objectives. It is a major decision because today we have no outcome budget and probably so much money need not have been allocated for many schemes that turn out to be sitting on unspent balances at the end of the year," said N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National institute for Public Finance and Policy.

“Setting up of the independent evaluation office and tracking expenditure in a few years will help the government move to budgetary optimization and schemes that are more demand driven," he said.

The ministerial group that includes finance minister P. Chidambaram, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and commerce minister Anand Sharma had been constituted in May to look into the September 2011 recommendations by the B.K. Chaturvedi committee on restructuring the schemes.

The report had recommended the number be reduced to 59 from 147 for better administration and monitoring.

In September, finance minister P. Chidambaram had suggested that small schemes with small outlays should be eliminated.

States have also repeatedly stressed on the need for reducing the proliferation of schemes run by the central government.

The report had also suggested the creation of flexi funds—or a flexible component in the funding of central schemes to allow for local innovations.

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