Tamil Nadu

Mega schemes go unevaluated due to staff shortage

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Though Tamil Nadu is one of the few States in the country to have a department for evaluating government schemes, the agency has been pushed to irrelevance over the years and currently functions with half the sanctioned technical manpower.

Envisioned to function like an in-house CAG, the Department of Evaluation and Research is supposed to look into flagship schemes like the free laptop distribution program, which costs the State over Rs.1,000 crore each year.

“For years, it has been a bit of a backwater,” admitted a senior government official. Functioning without a full-time director for four years, the agency didn't even release the annual economic appraisal for three years. “Most other studies were pending,” the official said.

The number of studies being undertaken not only dropped from over 70 each year in the 1980s to around 30 now, but the department also looks only at routine and minor schemes like forestry programs in the Nilgiris. The slew of Amma schemes that have been recently launched receive no scrutiny.

“They've constantly been doing the same 10 reports,” the official said. “Certainly, the agency has suffered from successive administrations not looking at evaluation seriously enough.”

“There is a lot of scope for advising the government from within and identifying what works and what doesn't,” he added

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:06:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mega-schemes-go-unevaluated-due-to-staff-shortage/article10937017.ece

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