“Topmost priority must be given to the MLAs’ priorities” as they are the elected representatives and have “best knowledge” of the developmental needs and aspirations of the people of their respective areas.

This was said by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over a review meeting of the Planning Department here on Wednesday.

The CM said that it had been felt that the MLA priorities got delayed as Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) were not prepared in time by the respective departments. The MLAs must be taken into confidence while finalising the DPRs and they may also be apprised regarding the cause of the delay in the DPRs so that the same could be rectified. He said that regular meeting must be held at the district level regarding planning with active involvement of MLAs.

He directed the Deputy Commissioners to think out of the box and at least start one unique scheme in their respective district. He said that the corona pandemic had caught the entire world unprepared, thus the Deputy Commissioners must come with some suggestions which could be included in the budget for the next financial year. He said that effective monitoring mechanism must also be ensured for time bound completion of all the projects being implemented in the state. He said special emphasis must be laid on Forest Conservation Act (FCA)) and Forest Rights Act (FRA) clearances as several major projects got delayed due to this. He said that accountability must be fixed to check delay in execution of developmental projects.

Thakur said that 114 projects worth Rs. 500 crore had been approved under RIDFXXVI in Public Works Department whereas 137 projects having investment of Rs 300 crore had been approved under Jal Shakti Vibhag. He said that phasing period for these projects was from 2020- 21 to 2023-24. He said that top most priority must be accorded for time bound preparation of DPRs under NABARD.

The Chief Minister said that Planning department must ensure that total plan outlays were apportioned into the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan in the fixed proportion. He said that implementation and monitoring must be done by the concerned departments along-with impact assessment.

Thakur said that implementation of Chief Minister’s announcements and budget assurances must be accorded top most priority. The state government had enhanced per Assembly constituency limit for posing DPRs to the NABARD and other funding agencies to Rs. 120 crore whereas allocation under Vidhayak Kshetra Vikas Nidhi Yojna had been enhanced to Rs. 1.75 crore.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi said that an effective mechanism would be evolved to ensure time bound preparation of DPRs. The monitoring mechanism would also be strengthened to give a boost to the pace of development. He said that year-long activities must be planned to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of statehood.

Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Prabodh Saxena said that Deputy Commissioners should come up with solid proposals which could be incorporated in the budget.