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‘Central schemes should be modified to suit local needs’

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DELIBERATION: Lakshmi Venkatachalam (left), Principal Secretary of the Department of Statistics, speaking at a review meeting in Mangalore on Friday.
DELIBERATION: Lakshmi Venkatachalam (left), Principal Secretary of the Department of Statistics, speaking at a review meeting in Mangalore on Friday.

Staff Correspondent

The responsibility rests with civic bodies, says official

‘Plans should aim at ameliorating economic conditions of poor’

Urban local bodies told to prioritise their development projects

MANGALORE: The panchayati raj and urban local bodies (ULBs) should modify the Centrally sponsored schemes to suit local needs, Principal Secretary of Planning and Statistics Department Lakshmi Venkatachalam has said.

This, however, has to be done based on the guidelines issued by the Centre, without posing any additional burden on them. Centre is open to suggestions from the panchayati raj and urban local bodies in this regard, she added.

Chairing a meeting to review the progress in preparing comprehensive district development plans at the zilla panchayat here on Friday, Ms. Lakshmi Venkatachalam said panchayati raj and urban local bodies implemented various State and Centrally sponsored schemes.

The aim of these schemes was to ameliorate the economic condition of urban and rural poor.

There was no harm in suggesting changes in the guidelines based on local needs, she said.

Aims

These plans also aimed at attaining inclusive growth of marginalised and weaker sections of society. Concerned departments should explore the possibilities of coordinating their actions in such a way as to help the poor.

Lack of money for development was not an issue. It was the manner in which gram panchayats, taluk and zilla panchayats went about prioritising their development schemes, which mattered most, she said.

Funds

K.V. Raghuram Reddy, director of district planning division in the department, said while the planning process in panchayati raj institutions was well-established, their counterparts in ULBs were yet to catch up.

These bodies, which had 18 well-identified activities to execute, received funds from State Finance Commission besides generating their own revenue. They should, however, plan better to deal with their various sources of income, he said.

Prime concern

Ms. Lakshmi Venkatachalam said that the ULBs had well established planning processes.

It was a matter of setting their planning in order. With the third State Finance Commission’s report expected shortly, they were likely to get more funds for development activities.

Their revenue could take care of operation and maintenance activities. “They need to worry about capital expenditure for major project,” she added.

Referring to various social security nets, including National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, public distribution system, health insurance scheme for unorganised workers, she stressed on the need for their convergence for effective delivery of benefits.

These schemes were meant for the poorer strata of society, she said.

R.S. Deshpande of Institute for Social and Economic Change and chief executive officer of zilla panchayat A.M. Kunjappa were present.

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