Plan panel members to hit road for review

Chetan Chauhan

New Delhi, July 04, 2008

The country's top plan body wants to gauge the impact of various
central government schemes on people just before the elections. So it
has decided to send its members to various states in the next
one-and-a-half months. Stated reason  mid-term appraisal of the
schemes. Probable reason  educating people about the benefits of these

In a first, a decision was made on Tuesday at an internal meeting of
the Planning Commission. "We are in the middle of second year of the
11th plan in which special schemes have been launched. It is sort of a
mid-term review," the commission's deputy chairperson Montek Singh
Ahluwalia said when asked about the idea behind the decision.

Although technically the 11th plan is in its second year, it was
approved only in November last year. Most of the schemes envisaged in
the plan are still in the nascent stage whereas some have been
introduced from this financial year only. This makes it apparent that
the visits will provide the government more than just feedback on its

Normally, the commission hires consultations to conduct mid-term
appraisal of the schemes. But, the commission has decided to take a
break from this age-old tradition. Starting from mid-July, each
planning commission member will visit the states, for which he or she
is responsible in the commission. Ahluwalia said the members have been
asked to submit their report within a few months, probably before

During the visit, the members will also review implementation of
flagship programmes, which the UPA government believes has brought
change in rural lives and can help them in elections.

The government has been claiming success of National Employment
Guarantee Programme, under which more than 1.8 crore people have got a
bank account, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, which has brought 94 per cent
children to schools and inclusive development schemes for benefit of
SC/ST and minorities. Similarly, the government claims to have
provided Rs 1,32,000 crores for rural roads for connecting villages
with the mainstream.

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