Centre to modify guidelines for smooth implementation of District Mineral Foundation fund

Performance auditing will be included in the refined guidelines, which will also focus on capacity building of implementing agencies and Gram Sabhas.

NEW DELHI: Director of Union Ministry of Mines D Veena Kumari on Tuesday said the Centre would soon revise the guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) for effective implementation of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds.

Though several States have already started audit of funds utilised in different projects, she said, performance auditing will be included in the refined guidelines, which will also focus on capacity building of implementing agencies and Gram Sabhas. "Areas that need strengthening are being identified. We are planning State level workshops in different mineral bearing States. The feedbacks received during the consultations will be incorporated in the modified guidelines that is expected to come up in a few months," Veena Kumari said on the sidelines of the release of DMF study report prepared by CSE.

Some of key components which will be relooked are clarity on planning, project and beneficiary identification besides social audit involving local people. The Ministry is also vying options whether establishment of endowment fund needs to be explored and sharing of funds between districts should be allowed with proper guidelines.

The director informed while a national portal has been launched and provision given to districts to input the data, a grievance redressal system is being built in to the portal, which will disseminate information about progress of works under implementation ensuring maximum transparency. States like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka have their separate portals which will be integrated with the national portal for visibility of complete information.

"The States have been asked to go for immediate identification of beneficiaries and strengthen implementation mechanism by establishing offices at State and district levels. They can utilise the five per cent fund available for administrative purposes," she added and assured that expertise issues are also being looked into.

Stating that DMF is a unique fund, Principal Secretary of Madhya Pradesh's Mineral Resources Department Neeraj Mandloi said policymakers first plan a scheme and then look for funds. But in DMF, the fund is already available and what needs is a robust planning to reach to targeted beneficiaries. "It will not benefit much since we are banking on existing plans.

Crowdsourcing of ideas to utilise DMF fund should be explored. Local intelligentsia living outside should be contacted for ideas so that some kind of innovation can be added for grounding of projects," he said.

Mandloi also suggested that existing infrastructure should be maintained with the DMF fund in case regular fund fails to do so and it should be linked with Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Departments. It will help plug the gap depending on the need-based assessment, he added.

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