Panel directs officials to make the optimum use of funds

With the lapse of Rs. 1,400 crore funds allocated by the Centre for implementing various Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) schemes, the State-level RDPR Vigilance and Monitoring Committee on Wednesday directed the department officials to make the optimum use of funds. Headed by Minister H.K. Patil, the monitoring committee expressed displeasure over the under-utilisation of Rs. 6,275 crore allotted for implementing 12 schemes in the State.

“These schemes include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Western Ghats Development Project (WGDP). Of the Rs. 6,275 crore, only Rs. 4,875 crore has been spent and the remaining has lapsed,” Mr. Patil told reporters after the meeting.

“Although the officials defended funds under-utilisation attributing it to elections, the members of the monitoring committee were not satisfied. Seeking a detailed explanation on why the funds released by the Union Government had not been utilised, the committee asked the officials to ensure that funds did not lapse again.

The members also pointed out that the CAG report had pointed out the under-utilisation,” he said.

Mr. Patil said that it was proposed to use surface water from the Malaprabha to provide drinking water to villages in some districts, including Dharwad, Belgaum and Gadag. The officials have been asked to prepare a detailed project report, he said.

Nirmala Bharata Yojane

Asserting that the government was keen on propagating the Nirmala Bharata Yojane, Mr. Patil said that a monthly incentive of Rs. 75 given to anganwadi and ASHA workers for popularising the scheme had been increased to Rs. 150.

Following a review of the functioning of the department on Tuesday, the Government decided to set up village water supply and sanitation committees. These committees, to be set up in every panchayat, will have six women members.

The committees will have the responsibility of ensuring regular supply of potable water and maintenance of pipelines. They will have to ensure that every house in the village has a toilet.

RDPR projects

The Minister said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will launch seven projects being implemented by the department in Mysore on Saturday.

These projects include Rajiv Gandhi Yuva Chaitanya, playgrounds for children, development of land owned by small farmers and those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities, the Minister said.

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