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Govt Approves Merger Of Centrally Sponsored Schemes To 66

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In a bid to improve monitoring and provide greater flexibility to states, the government on Thursday 20 June '2013 decided to condense the centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) to 66 from over 140 during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).

"We have now reduced CSS to 66. There are many different schemes in one area (like horticulture). We have condensed them to one scheme," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporter here after the Cabinet meeting.

Now the District Collectors, he said, "would have to deal with fewer schemes. We have also addressed the issue of flexibility (through this decision)."

The government has also decided to alter the scheme guidelines to suit requirements of the states and give them greater flexibility to spend up to 10 per cent of the allocated funds.

He explained that states would have flexibility to incur expenditure under any scheme (up to 10 per cent of the allocation) as long as the project is within the broad guideline of a scheme.

Ahluwalia said innovation is very important while using the funds under CSS so that it can serve the broad purpose of the programme.

According to a statement, these schemes include 17 flagship programmes with significant outlays for major interventions required in health, education irrigation, urban development, infrastructure sectors.

"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," it said.

"Besides, the financial assistance to the states in these 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," it added.