Cabinet Secretary asks State Chief Secretaries to act on central schemes

January 31st, 2009 - 10:57 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Jan 31, (ANI): Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar on Saturday held a meeting with Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories with a view to expediting the pace of implementation of various schemes and programmes of the Government and to identify constraints being faced by the State Governments and find solutions so as to minimize the impact of global slowdown.
Cabinet Secretary said the meeting was called to follow up on the two economic stimulus packages announced by the Government on December 7, 2008 and January 2, 2009 as well as measures announced by RBI.
Cabinet Secretary appealed to the Chief Secretaries of States to take immediate action on issues pertaining to them.
He underscored the importance of the role of State Governments in taking suitable action to ensure that various stimulus measures announced by the Government quickly translate into tangible activity at the ground level and actually benefit the people.
At the same time, Cabinet Secretary also asked the Central Ministries to take expeditious action to resolve issues highlighted by the States during the meeting, so that the efforts of States and the Central Government could mutually reinforce and complement one another for stimulating the economy.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T. K. A. Nair recalled that the Prime Minister has written to the Chief Ministers of all the States to emphasize the need to boost economic activity at the State level.
He stated that the Prime Minister has particularly emphasized the dominant role of the housing sector as it is employment intensive and has called upon the States to catalyze activity in this sector by drawing up new schemes for affordable housing.
Nair also suggested that State Governments could identify the lands, which could be transferred to beneficiaries, particularly in the low-income groups, as it would facilitate access of credit by such beneficiaries.
He also called upon the Chief Secretaries to step up efforts for speedy implementation of existing projects as well as identification of new projects in the remaining months of the current financial year and also to continue the thrust in the coming year.
Nair stated that requisite policy has been put in place by the Central Government and it is now for the States to put them in operation.
He emphasized effective and early utilization of additional budgetary allocation of Rs. 20,000 crores made for major schemes during the current financial year.
Secretary, Planning Commission said the success of fiscal stimulus would depend largely on the action taken by the State Governments.
He stated that State governments should effectively implement developmental programmes, as major part of Central Governments plan support is invested through the State Governments to create infrastructure, employment and livelihood opportunities.
Secretaries and senior officers from more than 25 key Ministries of the Central Government also participated in the meeting.
These Ministries highlighted the issues that need immediate attention of the States, such as review of States procedures so as to facilitate faster progress of project activities and faster completion, taking up on-going schemes and projects on priority to ensure their early completion, giving special attention to land acquisition wherever
projects are stalled on account of this reason and ensuring that allocated funds are fully and efficiently utilized during the current financial year.
The Ministries emphasized the need for expediting forest clearances and also to intensify awareness campaigns regarding major schemes and programmes.
The Ministries also requested the States to make extra efforts to expedite implementation of pending irrigation projects as well as other major projects in the railways, roads and power sectors, as they have far-reaching direct and indirect benefits in the form of income and employment generation.
Most of the Ministries stressed that no project should now suffer due to lack of funds as adequate liquidity has been made available by the Centre, in addition to enhanced liquidity being provided by the banking system.
The Deputy Governor of RBI requested the States to take note of the special dispensations made by RBI for facilitating greater credit availability, especially for sectors such as housing, transport and infrastructure development.
States pleaded to Centre for additional grants to meet anticipated expenditure on account of the implementation of 6th Pay Commissions recommendations.
Many States referred to the need for more aggressive lending by banks, particularly to the priority sectors.
They also desired more flexibility in the Central Sector Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes to suit the requirements of different States.
States also requested for early clearance for outstanding bills under various schemes.
They also sought assistance for expediting infrastructure projects, particularly in the road sector, stating that alternate mechanisms may be permitted for locations where tolling was not feasible.
States requested allotment of coal blocks for captive power generation on priority to augment power generation.
It was also suggested that a Public Projects Appraisal Board may be set up to provide single-window clearance and monitoring of large projects for which there is no existing institutional mechanism.
It was decided that issues and difficulties brought out at the meeting by the Chief Secretaries will be immediately examined by the Central Ministries for resolution.
While a Committee headed by the Chief Secretary will do the review at the State level, the Cabinet Secretary will head the Committee at the Centre.
The Planning Commission will closely monitor progress of implementation on an ongoing basis and take such measures as are needed to simplify procedures to speed up implementation.
The Deputy Governor of RBI, who also attended the meeting, indicated that an officer from RBI headquarters would attend the meetings to ensure that there is greater progress in lending.
Cabinet Secretary assured that the issues on which action is to be taken by the State Governments and the Central Ministries will be looked into, so as to expedite the pace of implementation of schemes and programmes at the field level.
He was confident that with combined efforts of Central and State Governments, the Government would be able to minimize the adverse impact of the global crisis and avoid a slowdown in growth.
Several measures have been announced by the Government to boost economic activity in various sectors of the economy.
For the housing sector, a special package for home loan borrowers has been announced, apart from a refinance facility of Rs. 4,000 crores by RBI to the National Housing Bank.
Of special interest to States are the decisions to allow States to raise additional market borrowings of 0.5 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product, providing additional budgetary support of Rs. 20,000 crores during the current financial year.
In pursuance of this decision, Central PSUs have already been suitably advised to do the needful. Similarly, the State Governments have also been requested to do the same with regard to State PSUs. (ANI)

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