The tug of war between the Home Ministry and the Finance Ministry on the one side and the Planning Commission and the Rural Development Ministry on the other over implementation of the multicrore Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in select districts of the nine worst Naxal-affected States has ended with the Cabinet deciding to continue with the existing model of spending Rs. 30 crore per district through a district-level committee.
Last week, the Cabinet also decided to increase the number of districts under the IAP from 82 to 88. “Six new districts — four in Chhattisgarh and two in Maharashtra — have been brought under the IAP... This will give better coverage in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told The Hindu.
Government sources say the Home and Finance Ministries were keen on continuing with the existing model where decisions on projects are taken by the three-member committee headed by the District Magistrate, with the Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer as members. But the Planning Commission and the Rural Development Ministry wanted that at least half of the total amount spent on these projects be allocated and spent through panchayats and local representatives.
The Home Ministry felt that it was practically not possible to get infrastructure projects implemented through panchayats and local bodies as in most villages elected bodies are either missing or lying defunct, while in some places panchayat members were either cooperating with the Naxals or were not helping local administration due to fear of Maoists.