Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday cleared the proposal to create 6,384 new posts in the Panchayati Raj Department to facilitate implementation of development programmes under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in the Maoist-affected districts.
The decision comes amidst doubts over the continuance of the scheme. Besides, there have also been complaints that the implementation of the scheme has been bureaucratised too much and suggestions of people’s representatives are not taken into consideration most of the time.
The new posts include 3,793 panchayat development officers (PDOs). Besides, the Chief Minister cleared creation of 2,591 posts of panchayat technical assistants. Creation of these posts would help in the execution of development projects under the IAP districts in the Maoist-affected districts, a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
During his recent meeting with Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in Delhi, the Chief Minister had requested him to continue the IAP in its present form with enhanced funding instead of merging it with the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF). The IAP in Naxalite-affected districts of the State has proved to be more effective in meeting the critical infrastructure needs of people, he said.
Centre had sanctioned Rs 25 crore per district in 2010-11, the first year of launching of the scheme, for 60 districts in the country. In the second year, Rs 30 cr had been allocated for each of the 78 districts. Under the plan, implemented by the Planning Commission, so far over 70,706 works like building schools, culverts and community centres have been taken up. Of these, 48,992 works have been completed.
According to sources, Rs 3,840 cr had been released for 2010-11 and 2011-12 against which Rs 2,188.14 cr (56.98 per cent) had been expended as on May 1, 2012. The State’s performance was impressive particularly in the last quarter of 2011-12. A Central review showed that utilisation made by 15 districts has been around 70 pc which is higher than that of many other states.
Official sources said a total of 16,774 projects have been taken up under IAP out of which 6,618 are connectivity projects, 3,201 building, 1,032 irrigation, 3,766 drinking water, 1,691 electrification projects and 466 projects are meant for various critical needs of communities.