New Delhi: The Group of Ministers, set up under the chairmanship of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, to sort out the long-pending issue of restructuring of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) will hold its first meeting this week.
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahulwalia had called a meeting of secretaries of various Ministries on Friday as a prelude to GoM meet.
The first meeting of the GoM will be held this week, a senior official told the agency.
Concerned over proliferation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and Additional Central Assistance (ACA) schemes, Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his Budget speech had said: "I am glad to announce that the schemes will be restructured into 70 schemes. Each scheme will be reviewed once in two years".
At the end of 11th Plan (March 2012), there were 173 CSS and Additional Central Assistance (ACA) schemes.
A committed headed by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi had earlier recommended trimming CSS to 59 from 147 to avoid overlap.
According to sources, GoM would help iron out differences between various Ministries.
The Chaturvedi committee report had said the number of CSS with small outlays do not achieve the objective of making an impact across states.
Such schemes are, therefore, not suitable as a CSS and need to be implemented by the states, unless required as part of convergence process of a broader scheme at the Centre. 44 per cent of the total CSS have an average annual outlay of less than Rs 100 crore, it had said.
These schemes should either be weeded out or merged for convergence with larger sectoral schemes or be transferred to States, who can then continue with these schemes based on their requirements, it added.
The Chaturvedi panel also proposed to have a system of flexi-funds. According to this, state governments can use 20 per cent of the Budget allocated for CSS (10 per cent in case of flagship schemes), within the broader framework of the programme.
First Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013, 15:43