statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 20 JUNE: To streamline the Centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS), the Union Cabinet today decided to restructure them, condensing them to 66 ~ including 17 flagship programmes of the Congress-led UPA government ~ from over 140 for the 12th Five Year Plan during 2012-17.
The Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, also approved the provision of flexible state-specific guidelines for the implementation of a Central scheme.
The Cabinet also cleared a proposal to provide some flexibility in the spending of allocated funds for Central schemes in a state.  “We have now reduced CSS to 66. There are many different schemes in one area (like horticulture). We have condensed them to one scheme,” the Planning Commission deputy chairman, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, told media persons after the Cabinet meeting.
Mr Ahluwalia said district collectors would have to deal with fewer schemes to ensure their effective implementation.
Explaining the government’s decision to give the states flexibility in spending up to 10 per cent of allocated funds for a Central scheme’s implementation, Mr Ahluwalia said the move was taken in the light of diverse ground-situation in every state, which would also boost “innovative solutions” for more effective implementation of CSS.
An official statement on the Cabinet decision said, “To suit the requirements of the states, the Cabinet has also approved that a scheme may have state specific guidelines, which may be recommended by an Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted for this purpose.”
The financial assistance to the states in these Central schemes would be provided through the Consolidated Funds of the states. “Further, to bring in desired flexibility, the Cabinet has approved that 10 per cent of the outlay of the schemes be kept as flexi-funds,” the statement said. A slew of chief ministers had reportedly urged the Centre to ensure flexibility to them for spending funds under CSS. The finance minister, Mr P Chidambaram, in his Budget speech on 28 February 2013, had held that the government was concerned about the proliferation of CSS and Additional Central Assistance (ACA) schemes, declaring that each scheme would be reviewed and restructured.