Yawning loopholes in State claim on DMF funds

Odisha topped the list of States in terms of District Mineral Foundation accruals of around Rs 1,933 crore

Published: 29th July 2017 01:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2017 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as Odisha topped the list of States in terms of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) accruals of around Rs 1,933 crore, an independent assessment claimed that most allocations and spendings were short-sighted and were not benefiting the actual beneficiaries.
According to the latest status report released by New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) here on Friday, there are shortcomings on various fronts, from institutional and administrative issues, to planning and budgetary allocations.

“Despite Odisha’s pole position with regard to funds received, there are gaps in spending. DMF is a defining opportunity to overturn the decades of injustice to people living in poverty and deprivation in mining districts,” said CSE Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan.
The study found that Odisha districts are yet to register DMF Trusts which is critical for transparency and accountability of these institutions. The allocations at various instances are ad hoc and the list of works are mechanically done without any planning.
The five biggest districts in terms of DMF accrual are Keonjhar, Angul, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda and Jajpur. So far, Keonjhar has accrued Rs 663 crore followed by Angul at Rs 517 crore and Sundargarh Rs 377 crore.

While Sundargarh topped the list in big allocations for physical infrastructure with 39 per cent spending, nearly 30.5 per cent was spent on developing infrastructure in Keonjhar district.
All districts have missed out on pressing issues such as nutrition, welfare of the vulnerable such as children, women, orphans, aged and the disabled, which are common concerns in all mining areas, said Bhusan.“We need to address institutional and administrative gaps besides focusing on planning and budget allocations and adopting a scientific approach to the planning process to enable DMF to deliver its intended mandate,” he added.

However, the State Planning and Convergence Department assures that institutional issues will be resolved by the end of this year. Additional Secretary PK Biswal, who attended the meet, said the Law Department is being consulted on the correct mechanism of registration.
The State Government has directed districts with more than Rs 100 crore annual DMF accruals to set up a Project Management Unit (PMU) for looking into feasibility of DMF proposals and monitoring progress of works.Of  Rs 5,800 crore collected across the country so far, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh alone account for close to 70 per cent of total money deposited in DMFs.

The drawbacks

● Shortcomings found on various fronts, from institutional and administrative issues, to planning and budgetary allocations
● Dists are yet to register DMF Trusts which is critical for transparency and accountability of these institutions
● Allocations at various instances are ad hoc and the list of works are mechanically done without any planning
● All dists missed out on pressing issues such as nutrition and welfare of the vulnerable sections

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