Kerala

Plan to enhance expenditure efficacy of LSGIs

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Sixth State Finance Commission to explore options to insulate them from the strain on State’s resources

The Sixth State Finance Commission would explore the options for bolstering the functional and expenditure efficacy of local self-government institutions (LSGIs) to insulate them from the current strain on the State’s resources.

Kerala that has set remarkable strides in decentralised planning and governance through devolution of powers, funds and functionaries to local governments is now attempting to enhance their capacity for optimum use of resources by streamlining their project preparation, planning and execution.

Commission chairman S.M. Vijayanand told The Hindu that the health of State finances would definitely have its impact on the functioning of local governments too, but the present move is to equip them to overcome such constraints with the available resources at their command.

“A fall in revenue and the resultant stress on resources will definitely have a bearing on local governments that rely on State plan, State’s own tax revenue and their own resources. But we are working out options to raise their efficiency in spending by 10 to 20% so that the grama panchayats and others tiers would remain unaffected by the paucity of funds.”

Functioning of many local governments is far from satisfactory and not in tune with the trail-blazing history the State earned through the People’s Plan Campaign. It could be improved by tying up the loose ends, he says.

Since a lion’s share of the State’s resources is being channelised through local governments for health, nutrition, education and such other key sectors, the service delivery system should be jacked up to meet emerging challenges, mainly in addressing environmental issues.

A sum of about ₹3,000 crore is spent in the State for watershed development, through various schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which is deemed to be the highest when linked with the poverty index of the country.

Still, it has not made any major breakthrough in the State.

Ecological assets

The commission would put forward models for creating ecological assets through watershed management. It would also propose measures for managing the ageing population that would grow from the present 16% to 20% by 2020 and also for bettering the lot of the differently abled.

There is a tearing hurry to ensure better utilisation of the funds earmarked for SC/ST development and that too is one of the focus areas of the commission, Mr.Vijayanand says.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 7:33:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/plan-to-enhance-expenditure-efficacy-of-lsgis/article30100098.ece

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