Their number may reduce from the present 150 to about 50: Abhijit Sen

The total number of Centre-sponsored schemes will come down by more than half in the 12th Five-Year-Plan, according to Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen.

“The Centre-sponsored schemes are likely to reduce from the present level of about 150 to around 50 in the 12th Plan,” Prof. Sen told The Hindu on the sidelines of the inaugural session of the two-day international conference on ‘Increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability in India: The future we want’, organised in Bangalore by the National Institute of Advanced Studies in association with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.

He said the main intention behind reducing Centre-sponsored schemes was to give more autonomy to the States in implementing these projects. “Also we (the Planning Commission) feel that the Centre should not be in the business of little things like implementing the scheme with a small budgetary support, which the States themselves can do,” he said.

He said this decision had been taken following the recommendation of the Chaturvedi Committee that looked into the issue in detail.

He said several Centre-sponsored schemes had also been cut in the agricultural sector as part of the restructuring programme. Citing the Centre’s project, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), he said if the Centre has to withdraw from the implementation of such projects, the necessary funds would be directly given to the State so that the projects would continue.

Earlier, addressing the conference, he said efforts were on to make the schemes more focussed and to give a better role to the State Agriculture Departments, especially in the technological side.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian Council of Agricultural Research Director-General S. Ayyappan said the 12th Plan will ensure that nearly 60 per cent of the total investment in agriculture will be made on various aspects of dry-land farming. ‘Reaching-the-unreached’ would be the main focus of the Plan, with respect to agriculture that would lay emphasis on agricultural extension system, he said.