Cabinet likely to approve merging central schemes tomorrow



New Delhi: The Union Cabinet would consider tomorrow the proposal to merge the 147 Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) into 70 across various sectors for efficient implementation and monitoring in the 12th Five Year Plan.

"The Union Cabinet will take up the proposal to consolidate the 147 CSS at present to 70 in its meeting scheduled for tomorrow," a source said.

Last month, a Group of Ministers, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, had approved merging of 147 CSS into 70.

The ministerial panel had approved setting up of a flexi-funds system in each scheme, under which state governments can use 10 per cent of the Budget allocated for CSS within the broader framework of the flagship programme.

For better utilisation of funds under CSS, the panel of ministers had approved transferring of funds from the central government to the state consolidated funds and not directly to the implementing agencies.

That apart, the panel had also approved setting up of state specific guidelines in each central sponsored schemes. The GoM decisions were in line with the recommendations of the Chaturvedi committee, which had suggested bringing down CSS to 59 from 147 to avoid overlap.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia were among the members of the GoM.

The GoM on restructuring of CSS was constituted to iron out differences among ministries like the Agriculture and Tribal Affairs, which wanted to maintain some of the schemes for development of the sector.

Concerned over proliferation of CSS, Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his Budget speech had announced that "the schemes will be restructured into 70 schemes. Each scheme will be reviewed once in two years".

PTI