Commission finds Govt spend on schemes lavish
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, August 18, DH News Service:
The State Government has been expanding schemes and facilities without providing adequate resources; several schemes do not have sunset clause; efficiency of these schemes is not reviewed; no impact analysis of big projects and capital expenditure has been declining.
These are some of the observations of former chief secretary B K Bhattacharya-headed Expenditure Reforms Commission, which submitted its interim report to the Government recently, on implementation and monitoring of Government schemes in the State.The Commission has termed the practice of announcing expansion and upgradation of facilities without providing adequate funds as “unfortunate,” as it distorts the expenditure priorities of departments. “Upgradation must be properly planned and backed by necessary resource allocation,” the report stated.It has quoted many recent announcements of unplanned upgradations by the State Government, including upgrading major district roads to State Highways, Lower Primary Schools to Higher Primary Schools and Primary Health Units to Primary Health Centres in the State.The Commission has found that deadline has not been fixed for achieving the goals of several State Government schemes (mainly in social sector) and no review has been done with regard to their efficiency. It has recommended that the Finance Minister should make a statement in the legislature once in six months and explain the progress of all projects above Rs 50 crore. Besides, it has suggested a techno-economic appraisal of all projects above Rs two crore in social sector and projects above Rs five crore in infrastructure sector.
‘Designed in haste’
The Commission has found that schemes and projects funded by the Centre or external agencies like World Bank are better implemented than those sponsored by the State. “The schemes and projects funded by the Centre or external agencies are well-designed and their objectives are clearly stated. The State schemes are often designed in haste without either specifying the measurable objectives or the time-frame of implementation,” it stated.Another reason cited for the poor implementation of schemes is the quality of human resource. For instance, though the agriculture and horticulture sectors are facing new challenges, of late, the department’s expertise is outdated in areas such as bio-technology, export procedures, seeds certification, post harvest technology and marketing.
The Commission said the capital investment (as a per centage to Gross State Domestic Product) has been on the decline in the last four years. From the peak of 4.54 per cent in 2006-07, the capital investment has dropped to 3.8 per cent in 2009-10. “Capital investments need to be stepped up and protected from fiscal uncertainties through prudent allocations,” it stated and recommended the Government to ensure that it is maintained at five per cent of the GSDP (excluding debt servicing).