Sub-Group on Central Schemes Submits Report

Recently, the chief minister’s sub-group on Centrally-Sponsored Schemes (CSS) has submitted report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In its report it has suggested that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and social inclusion schemes, particularly for the disabled, backward castes and minorities, should have the first claim on central funds.

The panel has recommended that among core schemes, those for social protection and inclusion should form the Core of the Core. It takes the line that ordinarily, in any sector there should be one umbrella scheme with the same funding pattern for all its sub-components.

Major Recommendations at a glance:

Focus of CSS should be on the Schemes that comprise the National Development Agenda where the Centre and the States will work together in the spirit of Team India.

Sectors/ tasks/objectives like Poverty Elimination including MGNREGA and Schemes for social inclusion; Drinking water and Swachh Bharat Mission; Rural Connectivity including Electrification; Access Roads and Communications; Agriculture including Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Irrigation; Education including Mid Day Meal; Health, Nutrition, Women and Children; Housing for All: Urban Transformation and Law and Order and Justice Delivery System would be Core Sectors as they constitute important elements of the National Development Agenda. MGNREGA and Schemes for Social inclusion would be accorded highest priority.

Accordingly, existing CSS should be divided into: Core and Optional schemes.

Amongst the Core Schemes, those for social protection and social inclusion should form the Core of the Core and be the first charge on available funds for the National Development Agenda.

Ordinarily, in any sector there should be one Umbrella scheme having the same funding pattern for all its sub-components.

Investment levels in Core Schemes should be maintained so as to ensure that the optimum size of the programme does not shrink.

Funds for Optional Schemes would be allocated to States by the Ministry of Finance as a lump sum and States would be free to choose which Optional Schemes they wish to implement. Additionally, the States have been given the flexibility of portability of funds from optional schemes ( should it choose not to utilize to utilize its entire allocation under that head) to any other CSS component within the overall allocation for the state under CASP.

From now onwards, the sharing pattern should be:

For Core Schemes

a) For 8 NE and 3 Himalayan States: Centre: State: 90:10

b) For other States: Centre: State: 60:40

c) For Union Territories: Centre: 100%

For Optional Schemes

a) For 8 NE and 3 Himalayan States: Centre: State: 80:20

b) For other States: Centre: State: 50:50

c) For Union Territories: Centre: 100%

Existing funding pattern for schemes classified as Core of the Core should continue.

Remuneration for ASHAs, Aanganwadi and Contract Teachers to be protected. However, Central Assistance (CA) may be capped at existing level for the next 2 years in this regard.

Flexibility in Schemes and Institutional mechanism: 25% allocation in a Scheme should be flexi-fund, to be spent in accordance with Ministry of Finance guidelines.

Design of CSS should be broadly like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) with a large number of admissible components in a scheme, and the States being free to choose components to suit their local needs.

Cost norms in construction component of schemes should be decided by States subject to capping of allocation by the Centre.

Releases of funds should be simplified, based on yearly authorization. Actual release of cash would be on quarterly basis. .

Releases should be based on Utilization Certificates of the installment prior to the last installment to a State/UT.

The Ministry of Finance would make Scheme-wise allocations for Core Schemes. In each Core Schemes, there would be transparent criteria for State allocation of funds. There would also be transparent criteria for the lump sum allocation to States for Optional Schemes. These criteria to be evolved by NITI Aayog in consultation with State Governments and central Ministries.

NITI Aayog to have concurrent jurisdiction in monitoring of Centrally Sponsored Schemes in the States and Central Ministries.

Third-party evaluation by NITI Aayog.