Annual Report 1999-2000
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CHAPTER 4
MAJOR ACTIVITIES IN THE PLANNING COMMISSION - 1999-2000

The 48th Meeting of the National Development Council (NDC)

1. Planning Commission is the Secretariat for National Development Council. The 48th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) held on 19th February,1999.

2. The following issues/points emerged in the NDC Meeting held on 19th February, 1999.

  1. The NDC approved the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) Document, as placed before the Council.
  2. The NDC endorsed the recommendations of the NDC Committee on Power and urged the Union and the State governments to implement these recommendations on priority. The meeting took note that the Union Government and several State Governments had already started implementing some of the recommendations of the NDC Committee.
  3. While appreciating the concerns surrounding the periodic revision of administered prices of essential commodities it was felt that though the interests of the farmers and the consumers, particularly of poorer sections of the society, must certainly be the primary concern, yet the macro-economic imperatives of fiscal stabilisation and control of inflation, which hurts the poor more than others, cannot be ignored. A balance has to be struck in taking such decisions.
  4. The NDC decided to set up a Committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, with members drawn from Central Ministries and States to go into the criteria for allocation of funds under major rural poverty alleviation schemes. The members of the Committee include the Union Minister for Rural Development, Chief Ministers of Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, the Minister of State for Planning and Member, Planning Commission. The NDC Committee meeting was held on 12th January, 2000 and the various criteria for allocation of funds under major Rural Poverty Alleviation Programmes were discussed. There was a consensus and agreement on continuation of presently used criterion i.e. 15 per cent adjusted shares, as approved by the Full Planning Commission under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
  5. The meeting noted that there is a wide divergence of opinion among the States and between the Central Ministries and the States on the transfer of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and the modalities of transfer of the schemes. After discussions, the NDC decided to constitute a Committee of the NDC under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. The members of this Committee include Union Ministers of Finance, Human Resource Development, Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs, the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Member, Planning Commission. The Committee is expected to submit its report by 31.3.2000. Meanwhile a detailed exercise has been undertaken in the Internal Planning Commission to seek convergence of related schemes and weed out those which are no longer relevant.
  6. The Finance Minister informed the NDC that the Governor, RBI has agreed to implement the revised ways and means advances to States from 1.3.1999 as against the earlier decision of doing so with effect from 1.4.1999. In addition, the RBI would consider allowing the States to roll over outstanding Overdrafts beyond the end of the current financial year as a short term measure to tide over the financial problems.
  7. The Union Finance Minister met a group of the State Chief Ministers/Finance Ministers on 20th March, 1999 to discuss the fiscal problems facing the States in a medium-term context. In the meeting it was decided that an Official Committee chaired by the Secretary, Planning Commission would be constituted to work out state-wise reform programme and the package of immediate assistance to be extended to the States. The Official Committee was set up in July, 1999. The Meetings of this Committee are held periodically to review the State finances.

3. Planning Commission has taken note of the demand from some State Governments to reconsider the criteria, based on the Expert Group methodology of estimating the incidence of poverty, for allocation of funds under the major Centrally Sponsored rural poverty alleviation programmes, viz. Integrated Rural Development Programme, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Million Wells Scheme and Indira Awaas Yojana. An exercise was undertaken to rationalise the criteria for allocation of funds for the said programmes by calculating weighted average shares of States-UTs. giving equal weightage to the share of Task Force estimates for 1987-88 and the Expert Group estimates for 1993-94. The Commission felt that this should be placed before the NDC for its consideration.

4. The following Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) have been approved by the Full Planning Commission during 1999-2000:

  1. "Upgrading Existing Polytechnics to Integrate the Physically Disabled in the Mainstream of Technical and Vocational Education" of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Education).
  2. A new 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) titled "Annapurna for benefit of Indigent Senior Citizens (Sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development) during the Ninth Five Year Plan.
  3. "National Programme for Women's Education", a new CSS of the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

5. The Y2K solution and management was a major issue concerning the global economy during 1999. Creation of awareness about the problem and the need to prepare time bound action plans for solving the problem was a pre-requisite towards ensuring a successful handling of the problem. The C and I Division, in collaboration with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) organized a National Seminar in the beginning of the year for generating the necessary awareness in the Government and the allied sectors.

6. To provide the necessary impetus and focused attention to the Government’s efforts to address the Y2K problem, a High Level Action Force on Managing the Impact of Year 2000 Problem in India was set up in October, 1998 under Chairmanship of Shri M.S. Ahluwalia, Member, Planning Commission. Besides the Govt., it had representatives from PSUs, financial institutions, public utilities, defence and trade and industry associations. The Action Force interacted continuously with the Central Departments, the State Governments and the private sector towards preparation of detailed sectoral Action Plans and contingency planning and held several meetings to discuss, deliberate and finalize the action required, especially with regard to the eleven priority sectors of Power, Banking and Finance, Insurance, Telecommunications, Civil Aviation, Railways, Ports, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Atomic Energy, Space and Defence. The final Report was submitted on October 18, 1999. The Action Force also continuously monitored and reviewed the progress being made by various sectors. The Division was actively involved in the year long work of the Action Force and provided necessary technical and secretarial support to the Action Force in completing its work.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance

7. The Standing Committee on Finance set up by Lok Sabha under the Chairmanship of Shri Murli Deora examined the Demands for Grants for 1999-2000. Senior officers appeared for oral evidence before this Committee on 23rd March,1999. Detailed replies to the points raised by this Committee were subsequently submitted.

8. A brief overview of major activities undertaken by the different Divisions of the Planning Commission is summarized in the following paragraphs.

4.1 AGRICULTURE DIVISION

9. A regionally differentiated strategy based on land and water resources and productivity levels and potentials in different Agro-Economic Zones is to be adopted to achieve a 4.5% growth in agriculture. It places emphasis on accelerating the growth of horticulture products such as fruits and vegetables, livestock products and fishery. The accelerated activities in the horticulture sector will offer a vast scope for diversification of Indian agriculture, generate additional employment opportunities, improve agro-industrial base, provide much needed nutritional security and also enhance export earnings. It will substantially improve incomes of the farmers particularly, belonging to small and marginal categories in the lesser developed areas.

10. In order to increase the production of cotton, Technology Mission on Cotton has been established which would address the issues in totality, including research on production technology, technology transfer and input supply to farmers, post harvest processing technology and marketing.

11. A project for oil palm development has also been recently approved which is aimed at increasing production and augmenting the supplies of edible oils in the country.

12. In order to widen the coverage of risk against crop damage/failure owing to natural calamities, a Rashtryia Krishi Bima Yojana has been launched with provision to cover all crops and all willing farmers.

13. As a part of post-harvest infrastructure, Government has approved a credit linked capital subsidy scheme to set up additional 12 lakh tonnes of cold storage capacity, modernisation/rehabilitation of existing 8 lakh tonnes or cold storage capacity and creation of 4.5 lakh tonnes or onion storage capacity. 25% subsidy subject to a maximum of Rs. 50 lakh (33.33% subject to maximum Rs.60 lakh in N.E. region) is allowed to each of the project for cold storage or onion storage.

14. The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) is an autonomous apex body at the National level for promotion of science and technology programmes in areas of agricultural research and education. New activities undertaken in ICAR during 1999-2000 include (i) support to private agricultural colleges, (ii) setting up of Agriculture University at Jammu, (iii) creation of network of Haemerhagic septicimia, (iv) creation of AICRP on Gastro-intestinal parasitism, (v) NRC on Seed Spices and Millets, (vi) creation of Bureau on Agriculturally important micro-organism, (vii) setting up of ICAR complex at Patna, and (viii) setting up of RRS of Central Soil Salinity Research Institute at Lucknow.

Important Activities in the B.C. and T.D. Division

  • Reorientation and Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes related to welfare and development of SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities.
  • Mid-term Appraisal of various welfare and development schemes being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • A Chapter on `Empowerment of Socially Disadvantaged Groups’ has been prepared for inclusion in the Mid-term Appraisal Document of the Ninth Plan.
  • Associated with the nodal Ministries for formulation of development schemes for the welfare of the disadvantaged groups.
  • Preparation of a Discussion Paper for National Conference on `Empowerment of Tribals in India'.
  • Constituted a Standing Tripartite Committee to monitor the implementation of SCP and TSP both at Centre and State levels.
  • Finalised the Annual Plan 1999-2000 outlays of the i) Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities; and ii) Ministry of Tribal Affairs for welfare and development of STs.

15. Fisheries Sector occupies an important place in the socio-economic development of the country. The major thrust in fisheries has been focused on optimizing production and productivity, augmenting export of marine products, generating employment and improving the welfare of fishermen and their socio-economic status. In consonance with the overall strategy of the Ninth Plan, the major thrust is on expansion of aquaculture in freshwater and brackishwater, development of reservoir fisheries, strengthening of infrastructure like fishery harbours, fish landing centres, marketing etc.

4.2 BACKWARD CLASSES AND TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

16. The Backward Classes and Tribal Development (BC and TD) Division is concerned with the welfare and development of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups, viz., the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) , Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the Minorities.

17. Having focus on ` Growth with social Justice and Equity ' and with a specific objective of ‘Empowerment of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups and enabling them to act as agents of socio-economic change and development , the BC and TD Division has been working towards reorienting and rationalising various welfare and developmental programmes. In order to review, assess the progress made during the first three years of the Ninth Plan (1997-98 to 1999-2000) and suggest necessary interventions, various on-going welfare and developmental activities taken up through Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (set up in 1999) were scrutinised through Mid-Term Appraisal during 1999. Keeping in view the expansion and improvement of Social Infrastructure such as drinking water, housing, education, health care and sanitation, as committed in the Ninth Plan, status of extension of these Basic Minimum Services to the weaker sections was reviewed in the Mid-Term Appraisal. A Chapter on Empowerment of Socially Disadvantaged Groups has been prepared by the Division for inclusion in the document of Mid-Term Appraisal of the Ninth Plan.

18. The Division had interacted closely with the nodal Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs in formulation and implementation of various need based policies and programmes for the welfare and development of SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities, especially focussing on their educational and economic development.

19. For the Annual Plan 1999-2000, the outlay approved by the Planning Commission for implementation of these schemes was Rs. 1095 crore.

State Working Group Discussion

  • Working Group Meetings were held with the States’ nodal Departments of SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities Welfare to discuss their Annual Plan (1999-2000) proposals.
  • Recommendations were made to adopt various measures to effectively implement the existing ongoing schemes of the States and the Centre.
  • Impressed upon the States to put accelerated efforts towards fulfilling the Ninth Plan commitment of empowering the Socially Disadvantaged Groups. Eradication of Manual scavenging and Survival, Protection and Development of Primitive Tribal Groups were accorded priority.
  • Stressed upon to strictly adhere to the strategies of TSP and SCP towards ensuring adequate flow of funds and earmarking under various development sectors to attain social and economic development amongst the SCs and STs.
  • Working Group discussion for the Annual Plan 2000-2001 for 18 States were held to finalise the size of the outlays to the B.C. Sector of these States.

20. The State Working Group Meetings were arranged in the Planning Commission with State's nodal Departments dealing with welfare and development of SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities to discuss their Annual Plan (1999-2000) proposals. The Working Group, besides recommending outlays for the BC Sector for States/UTs for the Annual Plan under reference has also suggested various measures for effective implementation of the existing ongoing schemes of the States and the Centre. Efforts were also made to impress upon the States to work towards fulfilling the Ninth Plan commitment of empowering the Socially Disadvantaged Groups. The Working Group has stressed upon the strict adherence to the special strategies of Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) for Scheduled Tribes and Special Component Plan (SCP) for Scheduled Castes towards ensuring adequate flow of funds and earmarking under various development sectors to attain social and economic development amongst the SCs and STs.

21. Deviating from the present practice of convening the State Working Group Meeting after deciding the Plan size of the States for the Annual Plans, the B.C and T.D Division arranged the State Working Group Meetings with the major States for the Annual Plan 2000-2001 in the Planning Commission during the year under reference to review the proposals of the State Government focusing on the present policies, priorities set and programmes implemented for the welfare of SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities so as to make the planning for these disadvantaged groups more meaningful.

Terms and Reference of Standing Tripartite Committee

  • To look into the reasons for not implementing the Guidelines concerning SCP and TSP and to suggest specific measures for their compliance
  • To identify specific schemes which would benefit SCs and STs under various development sectors, their prioritization along with earmarking of them
  • To review the process of implementation, impact assessment and monitoring of SCP and TSP and utilization of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to TSP and the Grant-in-Aid (GIA) under Article 275(1) and advise the Planning Commission on measures which would serve the interests of these communities more effectively;
  • The Committee will recommend allocations/earmarking of funds under TSP as also specific/additional schemes consistent with the Guidelines, where necessary, for various Central Ministries and State Governments which are to be taken into account while finalizing their Annual Plans each year;
  • To suggest institutional and advocacy arrangements for participating beneficiary groups in preparation and implementation of schemes under SCP to TSP and Central allocations referred to in (iii) above, taking into consideration among others, priorities of 73rd and 74th Amendments and other Legislative measures flowing there from.

22. To monitor the implementation of the strategies of the Special Component Plan (SCP) for SCs and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) for STs, a Standing Tripartite Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of the Member, Planning Commission, in-charge of Backward Classes Welfare, in 1999 to review and resolve various policy oriented issues thereto in respect of Central Ministries. Similarly, Standing Tripartite Committees in the States are also being set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary.

23. An exclusive Ministry of Tribal Affairs was established in the year under reference so as to ensure focused and exclusive attention to the development of the Scheduled Tribes leading to their empowerment. Keeping this in view, a Discussion Paper for Empowering the Tribals of India’ has been prepared focusing/envisaging comprehensive development amongst the STs. Efforts have also been made by the B. C and T. D Division to organize a `National Conference on Empowerment of Tribals in India’ during 1999-2000 by inviting Special Articles from the experts who have been working on different tribal problems and issues. Necessary initiatives have been taken to publish these articles in a Special Issue of ‘Yojana'.

24. In an attempt to streamline the performance and for better implementation of the Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes related to welfare and development of the socially disadvantaged groups in the States and UTs, the Officers of the BC and TD Division visited the States and UTs during the year under reference, specifically to review the programmes being implemented for the development of Primitive Tribal Groups. A Senior Officer of the Division visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands especially to study and review the problems and developmental activities of the Primitive Tribes in these Islands.

4.3 COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION DIVISION

25. Communication , Information and Broadcasting Division is primarily concerned with the Plans, programmes and policies relating to Telecom, Postal, Information and Broadcasting and Information Technology sectors of the economy.

26. During the year, the Division critically examined the other issues relating to telecom sector. The major policy issues examined include:

  • Corporatisation of Department of Telecommunications.
  • Migration of existing licensees of Cellular, Basic and other Value added services to the revenue sharing regime under NTP’99.
  • Tariff revision and its impact on revenue generation in the telecom sector.
  • Allocation of international bandwidth to ISPs for setting up of international gateways.
  • India Mobile Personal Communication Services
  • Use of satellite other than INTELSAT for international connectivity.
  • Restructuring the INMARSAT project.

27. The Committee of Secretaries (COS) in its meeting on 29th October, 1999 decided that the Department of Telecommunications would prepare a two year Action Plan, indicating its resource position and put up before the Cabinet for consideration. The Action Plan would be routed through a Committee to be set up under the chairmanship of Member, Planning Commission. Following the above decision of COS, a Committee has been constituted by the Commission on 07.12.99 under chairmanship of Shri M.S. Ahluwalia, Member, Planning Commission. The main task of the Committee would be to consider and recommend on the two year Action Plan and the resource needs, as prepared by Department of Telecom. The Division would provide the necessary input support – both secretarial and technical – needed by the Committee to complete its work.

28. The Department of Telecommunication has set up several inter-ministerial groups to monitor the implementation of various provisions of National Telecom Policy 1999. The Division is represented in many of such groups like Groups on Rural Area Telephony, Expansion of Telecom in the North-East, Wireless Planning, Co-ordination Committee etc.

29. The Y2K solution and management was a major issue concerning the global economy during 1999. Creation of awareness about the problem and the need to prepare time bound action plans for solving the problem was a pre-requisite towards ensuring a successful handling of the problem. The Division, in collaboration with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) organized a National Seminar in the beginning of the year for generating the necessary awareness in the Government and the allied sectors.

30. To provide the necessary impetus and focused attention to the Government’s efforts to address the Y2K problem, a High Level Action Force on Managing the Impact of Year 2000 Problem in India was set up in October, 1998 under Chairmanship of Shri M.S. Ahluwalia, Member, Planning Commission. Besides the Govt., it had representatives from PSUs, financial institutions, public utilities, defence and trade and industry associations. The Action Force interacted continuously with the Central Departments, the State Governments and the private sector towards preparation of detailed sectoral Action Plans and contingency planning and held several meetings to discuss, deliberate and finalize the action required, especially with regard to the eleven priority sectors of Power, Banking and Finance, Insurance, Telecommunications, Civil Aviation, Railways, Ports, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Atomic Energy, Space and Defence. The final Report was submitted on October 18, 1999. The Action Force also continuously monitored and reviewed the progress being made by various sectors. The Division was actively involved in the year long work of the Action Force and provided necessary technical and secretarial support to the Action Force in completing its work.

31. Postal sector is one such sector which has been least touched by the wave of liberalization initiated in early 90s. Modernization of postal services, by increased use of Information Technology and simultaneous expansion of service in rural, remote, hilly and far flung areas is a priority area. The Division deliberated on various schemes in this regard, including computerization of postal services on lease finance basis and revival of Panchayat Sanchar Sewa Kendras.

32. Annual Plan proposals (1999-2000) submitted by the Department of Telecommunications, Department of Posts and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were examined and their Plans finalized. Preparation of the chapters concerning Mid-Term Appraisal of these sectors is underway. The Appraisal regarding broadcasting sector has raised basic policy issues facing the sector in the light of new and converging technologies in information, telecommunications and broadcasting.

33. The Division has been entrusted with the works relating to the newly formed Ministry of Information Technology.

34. The Division in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, has started a Cyber Cafe near the Reception Desk in the Ground Floor or Yojana Bhawan, New Delhi. The Cyber Cafe named ‘Soochna Dwar’ has three computers with Internet connections and it has been designed to cater to the needs of visiting journalists, academics and experts. They can surf the Internet for information relating to planning and development. Facilities for downloading such information are also available for the visitors. The Cafe is expected to become an interactive centre for exchange of ideas on various aspects of planning and development.

35. The Division continued with the "Internal Information Service" by bringing out a computerised Daily Digest of selected news items. Besides, it continued to send newspaper clippings of plan related items to the Office of the Deputy Chairman, MOS and other senior officials of the Commission on a daily basis. The Division was also responsible for bringing out a number of publications of the Planning Commission and ensured their wider circulation among various institutions and individuals, both in the Government and non-Government sectors.

4.4 DEVELOPMENT POLICY DIVISION

36. The Development Policy Division examined the various price recommendations during the year as made by the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for the major crops, covering almost two thirds of the cultivated area, in regard to Minimum Support Prices to be paid to the farmers. It also provided its comments on fixation and revision of Central Issue Price for wheat and rice for distribution under the Public Distribution System as well as for open sale. The Division also examined the various proposals in regard to foodgrains storage, relaxation of fair average quality (FAQ) of foodgrains for procurement as well as transportation of foodgrains. The Division also examined the various proposals in regard to import and export of agricultural commodities and gave its comments on policy options vis--vis quantitative restrictions and imposition of variable tariff etc.

37. The Division vetted the Annual Plan proposals relating to the Public Distribution System sent by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies for Annual Plan discussions. It also prepared brief notes on issues relating to ‘subsidies on food, kerosene and fertilizer’, ‘subsidy on sugar’ and ‘the need to review the Essential Commodity Act’. The Chapter on Public Distribution System and Food Security for the Mid-Term Appraisal of the Ninth Plan was also prepared in the Division.

38. The Development Policy Division monitored the major economic indicators of the Indian economy on a continuous basis during the period and also reviewed the macro-economic performance of the economy for the full year. The Division prepared the chapter on Direction for Reforms for inclusion in the Mid Term Appraisal of the Ninth Plan. The chapter on Recent Economic Developments for Annual Plan Document was also prepared in the Division. The Division also contributed in a significant manner in co-ordinating the preparation of the background material for the Economic Editor’s Conference (November 17-19, 1999).

39. The Development Policy Division, has been also coming out with Weekly Report on the "Latest Price Situation" on quite a regular basis. The Report is useful in preparing the Brief for the Deputy Chairman for the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Prices (CCP) chaired by the Prime Minister.

4.5 EDUCATION DIVISION

40. Education Division during the year continued active interaction with nodal Departments of Education, Art and Culture and Sports and Youth Affairs. The major activity was the finalisation of the revised Ninth Plan Chapter on Education, including Culture and Sports and Youth Affairs. Another activity undertaken was the mid-term appraisal of the Ninth Plan in all the sectors. The draft Chapter on the Mid-term Review of Education sector was undertaken on the basis of review of major schemes in all the sectors of education like elementary , secondary, higher education, technical education, adult education , language development and book promotion, including copyrights. The schemes in the sector of Art and Culture and Sports and Youth Affairs were also reviewed, in consultation with the Dep't. of Culture and Dep't. of Sports and Youth Affairs. The final draft would be ready shortly.

The Mid-term Review of Education Sector was undertaken which reflects major Schemes of Education, Art and culture and Sports and Youth Affairs.

41. An Expert Committee on Current Status of Expenditure on Education in relation to a target of 6% of GDP was constituted by the Planning Commission which was chaired by Pr. Adviser (Edn.) and Joint Adviser (Edn.) as Member Secretary. The objectives of the Committee were to assess the current status, both in the public and private sector and to make recommendations regarding implementation strategies for gradual increase of governmental and non-governmental spending on education upto a limit of 6% of GDP. The final Report of the committee has been submitted. The Committee has since been dissolved.

42. The Planning Commission has also constituted a Standing Committee on Educational Statistics, with reference to emerging needs, to identify gaps in educational statistics and make suitable arrangements for assigning functional responsibilities to suitable agencies for standardization of formats, collection and interpretation of data, qualitative improvement and further dissemination. The Committee was also to suggest a convergence of efforts and authentication of statistical data to be released by the govt. agencies in a manner that would be acceptable to national and international agencies and other users The Standing Committee held three sittings.

The Standing Committee on Educational Statistics has prepared a Synthesis Paper highlighting the current status of educational statistics, gaps in educational statistics and has recommended the future plan of action.

43. A Sub Group constituted by the Committee has prepared a Synthesis Paper, entitled "Educational Statistics in India: A Status Review and Action Plan" which the Committee discussed in detail. Data gaps in the respective sectors were highlighted besides deficiencies in the system of collection of educational statistics, issue of validation, quality, reliability etc. The final version of the Synthesis Paper of the Report of the Standing Committee is being prepared.

44. The Plan Investment and Evaluation Group for Educational Development met in April, 1999. The meeting was attended by the State Secretaries who shared their experiences in the sector of education, particularly elementary education in their respective States and the measures being taken by them to accelerate the process of universalisation of elementary education. Main decisions taken during the meeting were:

Under the Plan Investment and Evaluation Group for educational development, the State Secretaries of educationally backward States have taken decisions to accelerate the process of universalisation of elementary education in their respective States.

  1. Each State to constitute a group under their respective Chief Ministers for construction of school buildings for which money available under different schemes for construction of school buildings to be pooled and the Committee should sanction and monitor the release of funds to Panchayats for construction of school-buildings, and under various incentive schemes of free text-books, uniforms, subsidies etc. which could be provided to the Panchayats;
  2. To decentralize their school administration by delegating power to Panchayats. Regulatory mechanism may accordingly be developed. Government should work as facilitator and not as road blocker ;
  3. To circulate the note on Madhya Pradesh Model of EGS to other States;
  4. To work for convergence of schemes of elementary education;
  5. Alternate meetings in rotation are to be held every quarter in all Member States and the next meting is scheduled to be held shortly in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. NIEPA is also going to organize a Workshop on UEE.

45. The National Steering Committee on Technology Development Missions was reconstituted and its meeting was held on 6th April, 1999 in the Planning Commission to discuss the final Reports of the Missions and to decide future line of action and take decisions on pending work of the projects being executed by various IITs and IISC, Bangalore. The Committee also discussed the achievements and the future prospects of the Missions. Planning Commission had directly corresponded with the industrial partners to get feedback from them independently as to how the Missions have been useful. The response had been very encouraging and the success rate of the Missions is nearly 70%. The major decision taken was that there will be second phase which will be discussed in the next meeting of the Steering Committee and the focus will be to identify project Missions related to national importance and the common man.

46. A Coordination Committee on Vocational Education and Training has been set up to serve as a coordinating mechanism between ministries /organizations, /agencies, to promote close liaison and favour of interaction with meaningful partnership of Govt. with industry, trade and commerce concerning vocational education and training ; to suggest ways and means for quality improvement in vocational education and training; to suggest financing and administrative measures for promotion of research and developmental programmes in manpower planning needed for the fulfillment of objectives of vocational education and training.

The Co-ordination Committee on Vocational Education and Training has been set up which aims at effective co-ordination between Ministries/ Organisations/ Agencies for vocationalisation of education at school stage. This Committee will also promote close interface between Government, Industry and Trade.

47. The Education Division also initiated the work in getting a number of schemes evaluated through independent research and evaluation organizations existing in different regions of the country in the sector of elementary education. The following studies have been allocated:

The success stories of innovative practices under elementary education received from different States are being disseminated for wider application.

  1. Nutritional Support to Primary Education (Mid-Day Meal), A comparative Lessons of Experience in U.P. and Himachal Pradesh;
  2. Navodaya Vidalayas in U.P. and H.P. – A Comparative Analysis;
  3. Comparative study of Externally Aided Projects in the field of Elementary Education in the State of Rajasthan and Haryana;
  4. Impact of various schemes related to Elementary Education with spl. references to Girl literacy in the States of Rajasthan and Haryana;
  5. A comparative study of nutritional support to Primary Education (Mid-Day-Meal Scheme) in the States of Orissa and Tamil Nadu;
  6. A comparative Study of Girl Literacy in Orissa and Tamil Nadu;
  7. Impact of various schemes related to Elementary Education with special reference to Girl Literacy in West Bengal and Bihar;
  8. Impact of various schemes related to Elementary Education. A Comparative study of Girl Literacy in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh;
  9. Responsiveness of various schemes to Girl Literacy/Education in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh;
  10. A Study of Kendriya Vidyalayas in Karnataka and Kerala.

48. For reviewing the progress of the evaluation studies, a meeting was held in November, 1999. The final Reports are expected to be submitted in February. 2000. These Reports will be discussed in detail with the organizations concerned also, before their final adoption.

49. Projects and Proposals are also being received from the Dep't. of Education as a follow up of the recommendation of the National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission for taking immediate steps for removing bottlenecks in the path of rapid development for information and technology in India and to promote software industry

50. A 10-member delegation from Bangladesh visited Education Division, Planning Commission to learn about its working. A meeting with the delegates was held under the chairmanship of Member(Education), Planning Commission. Information regarding general programmers and policies in the field of education sector was provided to the delegates and the officers of the Education Division interacted with the member-delegates.

51. As a member of the Review Committee, Deputy Adviser (Edn.) visited Sarfoji Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavur and Tibetan Library and Archives Dharamshala for assessing their financial requirements and to make necessary recommendations.

52. The Education Division continued its efforts and focus on convergence of schemes, similar in nature in all the sectors which are in operation or are proposed to be initiated, for optimum utilization of resources in an economical manner, particularly in the field of elementary education and education for girls The proposals of the Dep't. of Education for making elementary education a fundamental right with reference to Eighty Third (Constitutional) Amendment, Scheme of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan - a holistic and convergent approach for universalisation of primary education, modification of certain parameters of the DPEP Programme, restructuring of the existing Non-formal education as alternative and innovative education programme for providing schooling facilities for working and out of school children, were supported. Similarly, the proposal for upgrading the Polytechnics to integrate physically disabled in the mainstream of technical education was supported for providing increasing opportunities in the education system and employment. 25 seats in each selected Polytechnic would be kept for giving admission to disabled students in regular three-years diploma course.

53. The Division held detailed discussion with the Dep't. of Education, Art and Culture and Sports and Youth Affairs of the HRD in the formulation of Annual Plan, 1999-2000 . Similar Working Group discussions were also held for finalizing the Annual Plan of the State and UTs and constructive suggestions were given on various schemes from the point of view of convergence and streamlining.

4.6 ENVIRONMENT and FORESTS DIVISION

54. The Environment and Forests Unit of the Planning Commission deals with formulation of the Five Year Plans, Annual Plan and Policies pertaining to the Ministries/departments of Environment and Forests, Wastelands Development and Animal Welfare. In addition, the Unit has been working as Secretariat of the Island Development Authority which was set up under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister and its Standing Committee is chaired by the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. Since January 2000, the IDA Secretariat has been transferred to the Multi Level Planning Division of the Planning Commission.

55. This year the thrust areas of the Environment and Forest Division were to,

  • Ensure the fuller participation of the people in the protection and management of forests on the basis of care and share.
  • Design a strategy for the development of Agro-Forestry in the country.
  • Review the progress of various ongoing projects in the related areas in the Central Ministry and the State Governments

56. During the year 1999-2000, the E and F Unit undertook the exercise of conducting the Mid-Term Appraisal of the Ninth Five Year Plan for the Environment and Forests, Wastelands Development and Animal Welfare sectors. A Task Force on Agro-Forestry was constituted under the chairmanship of Member (Environment and Forests), Planning Commission to workout the strategy for development of Agro-Forestry in the country. Two meetings of the Task Force on Agro Forestry have been organised during the year and the recommendations of the Task Force are likely to be finalised soon.

57. Following matters were also attended to during the current year:

(i) Two meetings of the Steering Committee on Integrated Development of the Himalayan Region were held under the chairmanship of Member (Environment and Forests), Planning Commission to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Group on the Integrated Development of the Himalayan Region.

(ii) During 1999-2000, three meetings of the High Powered Committee on Maintenance of minimum flow in the river Yamuna were held under the chairmanship of Member (Environment and Forests), Planning Commission.

(iii) Meeting of the National Steering Committee on the project Capacity-21 was held under the chairmanship of Member (Environment and Forests), Planning Commission to review the progress of the projects.

(iv) A study on the implications of global warming and the effects of the likely sea level rise on the Lakshadweep Group of Islands was conducted and the Report prepared. The highlights of the study have been communicated to the Ministries /Departments concerned.

(v) A meeting of the Monitoring Committee on the National River Conservation Plan under the chairmanship of Member (Environment and Forests), Planning Commission was organised to review the progress of the National River Conservation Plan.

4.7 FINANCIAL RESOURCES DIVISION

58. Assessment of Financial Resources for the Plans is an integral part of plan formulation. The studies and analysis for projections and estimates of financial resources for the Plan are undertaken at the very start of the Five Year/ Annual Plan formulation. This includes the review of the actual scheme of financing the approved Plan of the Centre and the State Governments during the previous (Annual/Five Year) Plans and exploring the ways of raising additional resources required for financing the ensuing Plan. The Financial Resources Division is responsible for such assessment of financial resources for the Five-Year Plan and Annual Plans for both the Centre and the States/ U.Ts.

Annual Plan 1999-2000

59. During the period under review, the Division completed the assessment of resources for the Annual Plan 1999-2000 for the Centre and for the States. The Chapter on Financial Resources together with annexures providing quantitative details of financing the Annual Plan 1999-2000 was prepared for inclusion in the Annual Plan (1999-2000) document. The allocation of amounts to be raised through Tax-free bonds by selected Central Public Sector Enterprises/ Corporations for financing their Plan was also completed as a part of the Centre’s Annual Plan formulation for 1999-2000.

Annual Plan 2000-01

60. The process of estimating/ assessment of financial resources for the Annual Plan 2000-01 was initiated during the period under review. The officers of the Division have been associated in the exercise undertaken by Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance for the assessment of Internal and Extra-Budgetary Resources (IEBR) of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) for Annual Plan 2000-01.

61. The necessary details of trends in Plan expenditure (including Central Assistance to States’/U.Ts’ Plans) and Non Plan expenditure during 1997-2000 and the tentative estimates of Gross Budgetary Support for the Annual Plan 2000-01 were provided to the Commission to facilitate discussions between the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance in this regard. With regard to the State Plans, detailed guidelines were issued to all States for formulating the scheme of financing of their Plans. The proposed scheme of financing, as proposed by the States on the basis of such guidelines, were discussed in details by the Working Groups on Financial Resources under the chairmanship of Adviser, Financial Resources Division. The Working Groups comprise officers from the F.R. Division, Department of Expenditure, Department of Economic Affairs, Reserve Bank of India and respective States/ U.Ts Governments. The consensus arrived in the Working Groups forms the basis of discussions between the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and Chief Ministers for finalisation of outlay for the Annual Plans of the States/ U.Ts .

Mid-Term Appraisal of the Ninth Five Year Plan

62. The fiscal position of the Centre and the States has been under considerable strain during the nineties due to low growth in tax and non-tax revenues, vis--vis the persistent growth in non-plan expenditure. This resulted in lower resources than what was envisaged for the financing of Plan investment.

63. Figure Ishows that the declining trend in the share of Plan expenditure (in the total expenditure of the Centre) witnessed during the Eighth Plan had continued in the first two years of the Ninth Plan also. Plan expenditure accounted for only about 30 per cent of the total expenditure of the Centre, in the first year (1992-93) of the Eighth Plan. During the first two years of the Ninth Plan i.e. 1997-98 and 1998-99, the share of Plan expenditure declined to 25 and 24 percent respectively of the total expenditure. The financing pattern of Plan expenditure of the Centre (given in Table I) would show that in these two years (i.e. 1997-98 and 1998-99), the Balance from Current Revenues (BCR) of the Centre which was estimated to be negative, deteriorated further substantially compared to the corresponding estimates of the scheme of financing the Annual Plans. Therefore, the recourse to higher levels of borrowings became unavoidable to finance even the lower Plan investment. The internal resources of the Public Sector Enterprises also declined to a large extent compared to the Plan / Budget estimates. The borrowings of these enterprises also declined vis--vis the Plan estimates proposed for their investment.

Table 4.1 : Financing of Plan Expenditure of the Centre

(Figures at current Prices) Rs Crores

Sl. No.

Resources

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

BE

Actual

BE

Provisional

BE

1

BCR (Centre)

-2821

-21602

-15848

-36075

-20656

2

Internal and Other Resources of CPSEs

38372

33635**

45457

36925 **

43095

3

Bonds/Debentures by CPSE's

11819

9491**

11784

8923**

10980

4

Borrowings and MCR

62138

78768

84459

101013

96096

5

Net Inflow from abroad

9052

6190

8872

6320

7007

6

Aggregate Resources (1 to 5) *

118560

106482

134724

117106

136522

* Inclusive of Central Assistance for Plans of States and UTs
** Figures are Revised Estimates
BCR – Balance from Current Revenues
MCR – Miscellaneous Capital Receipts (net).
CPSEs – Central Public Sector Enterprises

64. Figure II would show that the gap between Revenue Receipts and Revenue Expenditure of States increased during the first three years of the Ninth Plan. The Revenue Receipt of States declined slightly in 1998-99 (Latest Estimates) as compared to the previous year while Revenue Expenditure increased by over 20 percent. If States fail to raise Revenue Receipts or rein in Revenue Expenditure, the gap represented by BCR, projected for 1999-2000 (AP) is likely to be wider in the latest estimates (LE). The Financing of the Plans of the States during the first two years of the Ninth Plan (as shown in Figure III) has also been characterised by greater reliance on borrowing. The borrowings exceeded the total Plan Expenditure of States during 1998-99(LE).

65. The problems of Non-Plan expenditure far exceeding the near stagnant/ declining revenue receipts resulting in lower resources for Plan investment despite greater reliance on borrowings are receiving the due attention of the Planning Commission in its Mid-term appraisal of the Ninth five-year Plan initiated during the year 1999-2000. The objective of this exercise with regard to financial resources is to compare the pattern of financing the Plan expenditure during the first three years of the Ninth Plan with the projections made at the time of its formulation and identify reasons and areas of shortfall in the mobilisation of resources with a view to suggest possible corrective measures. The mid-term appraisal is also expected to serve as an important input towards formulating the Annual Plans of the last two years of the Ninth Five-Year Plan. A concerted and consensus approach has become necessary in order to deal with various issues relating to the deteriorating finances of the Central and State Governments. A series of deliberations between the Planning Commission, the Finance Commission and the State Governments have been initiated in this regard. Some of the initiatives already taken with regard to fiscal correction are outlined below:

Consultations between Planning Commission and the Eleventh Finance Commission

66. Apart from the normal terms of reference under Article 280 of the Constitution, the Eleventh Finance Commission has been entrusted with the review of the state of finances of the Union and the States and to suggest ways and means by which governments, collectively and severally, may bring about a restructuring of public finances so as to restore budgetary balance and maintain macro-economic stability. A process of mutual consultation on various policy issues and problems relating to Central and State finances has been initiated during the year. A detailed presentation was made by the Planning Commission to the Finance Commission on the "Trends in Plan and non-Plan expenditure" and "Medium term fiscal reforms strategy for the Centre and the States". The F.R. Division provided the necessary material for the discussion.

Zero-Based Budgeting in the Government of India from 2000-01

67. In pursuance of the point made by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech for 1999-2000, the Central government has initiated the necessary exercise towards a system of Zero-Base Budgeting (ZBB) in all its departments. The objective of this exercise is to ensure judicious allocation of scarce resources. The Planning Commission (F.R Division) has been closely associated with this exercise of zero-base budgeting. The Central Monitoring Group constituted by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, includes the representative of the Planning Commission (F.R Division), besides the Financial Advisers and officers of the Ministry of Finance with Additional Secretary (Budget) as its Convenor.

State Fiscal-Reform Measures

68. The Planning Commission is actively involved in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of fiscal reform measures taken up by States to improve their finances. In particular, discussions were held with the State Government of Madhya Pradesh for formulating medium term fiscal reform strategy for the State. On the basis of these discussions, the State Government submitted a Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the Planning Commission listing out various reform measures along with milestones with a view to reduce primary deficit below one per cent of the State Domestic Product. The Planning Commission (F.R Division) also prepared a note for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on creation of a Medium-term facility to promote fiscal reforms and improve governance in States.

Reports, review papers / notes and other Items

69. The FR Division is the nodal division for preparation of analytical notes, review papers which focus on financing of Plan investment. The list of the reports, review papers and briefs prepared during the year is given in the Box below :

Reports, review papers / notes prepared DURING THE YEAR by FR Division

  1. Interim Report of the Study Group on Dis-investment in State PSUs:
  2. Note on the Central budget 1999-2000 with special reference to the financing of the Central Plan.
  3. Material for the brief by the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission in the Economic Editors Conference.
  4. A Status Paper titled "External Aid in Plan" covering the period 1992-93 to 1999-2000.
  5. Alternative Scenarios for State-wise allocation of budgetary provision for Additional Central Assistance for Externally Aided Projects for 1999-2000
  6. Time-series data on Plan expenditure of Central Ministries and Departments for use in the Commission - as part of a data-base on financial resources and Plan investment.
  7. A base- paper on the Finance Commission recommendations and the Central Assistance to States’/ U.Ts’ Plans for Seminar conducted by the Inter-State Council in the context of the visit of a delegation from Sudan Government.

70. Other regular items of work such as review of implementation of Plan schemes, revision of Plan outlays of particular Schemes/ programmes, preparation of briefs on Cabinet notes circulated by other Ministries/Departments, providing comments on transfer of Plan funds to Non-Plan schemes and examination of various aspects relating to States and Central finances including Central-State financial relations referred to the F.R.Division by other Subject Divisions in the Commission as well as Central Ministries/Departments were attended to during the period under review.

4.8 HEALTH, NUTRITION AND FAMILY WELFARE DIVISION

71. Human development and improvement in quality of life are ultimate objectives of all planning. Rapid completion of demographic transition and achievement of population stabilization are key elements for sustainability of developmental process and human development. Improvement of health and nutritional status of the population is a major thrust area for social development programmes. These are to be achieved through improving access to utilization of health, family welfare and nutritional services with special focus on under served and under privileged segments of the population.

The Division looks after

  • Health
    • State and Centre
    • Modern system of medicine and ISM and H
  • Family Welfare
  • Nutrition

72. Health is a state subject and State Governments are responsible for infrastructure creation, manpower deployment, human resource development for health and specific health programmes. The Central Dept of Health supplements efforts of the states in tackling major public health problems through Centrally Sponsored disease control programmes; the CSS provide essential equipments, consumables, diagnostics, drugs and assistance for IEC and training. The major on-going Centrally Sponsored disease control programmes are Malaria and Vector Borne Diseases, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, HIV and Blindness. These programmes are implemented through the existing state health infrastructure. Family Welfare is a Centrally Sponsored Programme partly implemented through the state health infrastructure and partly through the infrastructure created by family welfare programme. Nutrition is a multi-facetted problem; coordinated intervention from all concerned sectors is required for improvement in nutritional status and reduction in disease burden due to nutritional problems. Under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) is implementing food supplementation programme for improving nutritional status of mothers and children. The DWCD funds infrastructure for implementing the programme, while the State Governments fund food supplements. Department of Health and Department of Family Welfare are implementing programmes for tackling major micro nutrient deficiencies such as anaemia, Vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency disorders.

The Division has the responsibility of:

  • evolving policy and strategy guidelines pertaining to
    • infrastructure and manpower ( modern system of medicine and ISM and H)
    • disease control programmes,
    • Family Welfare programme and
    • initiatives to improve nutritional status of the population.
  • monitor changing trends in life style, disease profiles and plan for future strategies for tackling these emerging problems
  • examine current policies, strategies and programmes both in the State and in the central sector and suggest appropriate modifications and mid course corrections.
  • suggest methods for improving efficiency and quality of services.
  • evolve priorities for basic, clinical and operational research essential for improving health status of the population
  • look into inter-sectoral issues and evolve appropriate policies for convergence of services so that the population benefits optimally from on going programmes
  • draw up short, medium and long- term perspectives and goals for these sectors

The Division represents the Planning Commission in:

  • Advisory Committees of Department of Health, Family Welfare and , ISM and H
  • EFC/ SFC pertaining to Dept. of Health, ISM and H and Family Welfare
  • National Nutrition Council
  • Steering Committee of National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau,
  • Scientific Advisory Groups of Indian Council of Medical Research
  • Scientific Advisory Committees of major ICMR Research Institutes

Working Group discussions with the States

73. The Division had completed the Working Group discussions with the states and Central Ministries for the Annual Plan 1999-2000; performance of problems encountered and midcourse corrections in on-going programmes in Health, Family Welfare, ISM and H and Nutirtion in each State were discussed in detail. Some of the major aspects discussed during the working groups include improving the functional status of the existing urban and rural Primary health care institutions by appropriate reorganization and restructuring of the infrastructure, redeployment of manpower and correcting the mismatch between the two.

Improvement of logistics of drug supply Disease surveillance and response at district level

74. Improved implementation of the disease control programmes and family welfare programme Intersectoral coordination between the ICDS and the family welfare functionaries at the village level Hospital Infection Control and Waste Management. Horizontal Integration of vertical programmes at or below district level.

Monitoring improvement in Primary Health Care

75. Identifying the existing gaps in primary health care infrastructure and manpower and correcting them so that they become fully operational and effectively deliver health and family welfare services is critical to successful implementation of on-going programmes in the health sector. Currently, in addition to funding through the earmarked basic minimum services in the State Plan Budget, funding from Additional Central Assistance for basic minimum services, externally assisted projects for strengthening health infrastructure and centrally sponsored programmes in Health and Family Welfare provide funding for strengthening infrastructure, covering critical gaps in manpower, equipment, consumable and drugs. In order to monitor the progress in terms of narrowing of the gaps through effective utilization of the funding under all these and improving utilization, Planning Commission in collaboration with Family Welfare had designed a proforma. This proforma has been approved by the EFC and the CCEA for use throughout the country to monitor progress in this critical sector and has been shared with all the states during the Working Group meetings.

Development of a framework for appraisal of Secondary Health System Projects

76. Development of First Referral Units (FRUs) and district hospitals so that they are able to provide adequate care to persons with major health problems in the vicinity of their residence has been one of the identified priority areas in the Ninth Plan. During the last three years several states have prepared project proposals for strengthening these institutions and some have submitted their proposals to World Bank or other external agencies for funding. Planning Commission had prepared a detailed note providing the framework for appraisal of these proposals. A Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. S.R. Hashim, Member, Planning Commission with Secretary (Planning Commission), Secretary (DEA) and Secretary (Health) as members was constituted to review these. After reviewing the situation, the Committee recommended that (1) the Department of Health may draw up clear cut guidelines for State governments on preparation of health system projects and how the various ongoing initiatives in health sector during the 9th Plan, such as horizontal integration of ongoing vertical programmes at a below district sector, strengthening and operationalising health management information systems, diseases surveillance, hospital infection control and waste management will be dovetailed within the framework of health system projects. (2) Every effort should be made to avoid duplication of efforts and expenditure especially in the above mentioned areas as well as IEC and training.

Development of Referral Hospitals and Health Manpower Development in NE Region

77. North East region had been a region with inadequate facilities for tertiary and super-speciality care and also in Human Resource Development for Health; focussed efforts have been made during the last two decades to rectify these. In addition to funds from the State Plan, funds made available through the Central Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affairs and North Eastern Council have been utilsed for development and strengthening of tertiary and super specialty care centers in the North East region so that the patients from the region could get care within the region; facilities for training the required medical and paramedical personnel from the region in the institutions within the region have also been built up. In the last two years, funds from the Non-lapsable pool have also been provided for this purpose.

78. During this period, there has also been a growing and changing need for health care in the region. This would inevitably lead to changing requirements for specialized care as well as health manpower at professional (super specialists, specialists and general practitioners) and para-professionals at various levels. Planning Commission has requested the Department of Health to set up a Committee to review referral, tertiary and super speciality facilities available in the NE region, changing health problems of the region, need for medical and para medical personnel in the region and based on the analysis of this data, prepare a perspective plan for development of appropriate health infrastructure in NE region with the focus on cost effective interventions and optimal utilization of available facilities. The Department of Health had constituted a Committee which met in December, 1999. The recommendations of the Committee are expected shortly.

Horizontal Integration of Vertical Programmes

79. One of the major initiatives during the Ninth Plan is Horizontal Integration of Vertical Programmes at and below district level in order to improve efficiency and optimal utilization of available infrastructure and manpower for effective implementation of on-going national programmes in Health and Family Welfare. One of the suggested interventions to hasten this process is formation of single Health and Family Welfare Society at the State and District level. The Central Council for Health and Family Welfare had endorsed this step and recommended that all States should try to implement this. Orissa and Himachal Pradesh have completed the process of establishment of a single Health and Family Welfare Society at the State and District level during 1999-2000.

National AIDS Control Programme Phase II

80. Planning Commission approved the initiation of the Phase II of the National AIDS Control Programme with the objective of reducing the spread of HIV infection in India and to strengthen India’s capacity to respond to HIV/AIDS on a long-term basis. While approving the revised pattern of operation and funding, the Planning Commission had suggested that that NACP (Phase II) should involve a paradigm shift (a) from raising awareness to changing behaviour (b) decentralized area specific need assessment, planning, implementation and monitoring of intervention programmes (c) IEC strategy to reach the unreached through emphasis on inter-personal communication (d) changing the emphasis from condom promotion to reinforcement of traditional ethos of mutually faithful monogamous relationships and (e) emphasis on low cost strategies for prevention, counseling and care of HIV infected persons. The Commission had also emphasized the need for obtaining adequate epidemiological data on HIV infection in the country and ensuring that uniform norms for expenditure are adapted for various interventions.

Improving access to Information Technology in training institutions

81. Improving access to information technology can play a critical role in Human Resource Development for Health. This has been a thrust area identified in the Ninth Plan. Planning Commission provided Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to the University of Health Sciences in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Tamil Nadu so that they could accelerate the progress in information technology upgradation and networking between preservice and in-service training institutions for medical and para-medical personnel. The progress of work is being monitored. Other States are also being encouraged to embark on a similar initiative.

Rationalisation and reorganization of the FW infrastructure

82. The NDC Sub-Committee on Population had recommended that the State should progressively increase the contribution to meeting infrastructural costs of the Family Welfare Programme and the Department of Family Welfare should rationalize and restructure the infrastructure and manpower. The Ninth Plan had stated that there is a need to review infrastructure created by the Department over years and transfer to the State those which are functioning as a part of primary, secondary and tertiary care infrastructure of the state. The Ninth Plan recommended that there is a need for reorganization and restructuring of urban and rural family welfare infrastructure, so that the Department has an effective and efficient system for running the programme. At the same time, realistic revision of norms would enable the Department to ensure arrears payable to the State do not accumulate and come in the way of effective implementation of the Family Welfare Programme. At the request of the Planning Commission the Department of Family Welfare had constituted a Consultative Committee to consider these issues and come up with suitable recommendations. The Committee has prepared a draft report which provides data on existing pattern of financial assistance as well as suggestions regarding reorganization of family welfare infrastructure between the state and center in a budget neutral manner for both, and revision of norms for reimbursement of expenditure. The Department is in the process of consultation with the States before finalizing and implementing the recommendations.

National Population Policy

83. Population and sustainable development are key issues that determine the future improvement in quality of life. Over the last five decades, there have been massive changes in demographic and health indices of the population. The next two decades will witness an unprecedented increase in the number of persons in 15-59 age group. There is a need to meet health and contraceptive needs of this population. The number of births may remain unaltered but there is an urgent need to reduce maternal and infant mortality so that there is a reduction in the desired level of fertility. There has been a paradigm shift in Family Welfare Programme; centrally defined method specific targets have been replaced by community based need assessment, decentralized planning implementation of the programme to fulfill these needs. Taking all this into consideration, the Department of Family Welfare has formulated a draft National Population Policy. A Group of Ministers (GOM) was constituted by the Cabinet under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission to have a critical look at the draft National Population Policy and make suitable recommendations. The GOM after a number of meetings and consultation with experts suggested several modifications. The Dept. of Family Welfare has revised the draft National Population Policy and the revised draft has been sent to Prime Minister’s Office.

Immunisation

84. In order to hasten the elimination of poliomyelitis, the Department of Family Welfare initiated nationwide Pulse Polio Programme in December, 1995. While approving the initiation of the programme, Planning Commission had indicated that programme should continue until the target of elimination of polio is achieved. Coverage under the pulse polio immunization has been over 90% in all States, however, it has been a matter of concern that coverage under routine immunization has not improved; in fact, in some States there has been a substantial decline. There are segments of population who escape both routine immunization and the pulse polio immunization. As a result of all these, the decline in number of polio cases, though substantial, was not sufficient to enable the country to achieve zero polio incidence by 2000. In order to achieve zero incidence polio by the end of 2000, the Department of Family Welfare has now embarked on four nationwide pulse polio immunization during 1999-2000 and two more pulses in eight States where the large number of polio cases were reported. While agreeing to the newer strategy, Planning Commission has suggested that the Department should make every effort to trace those children who had not been covered on the National Immunization Day (NID) through household surveys undertaken soon after the NID and give polio immunization to them. The Department of Family Welfare has reported that with this strategy the coverage has gone up to over 98%. Planning Commission has in addition suggested that:

  1. Every effort should be made to ensure 100% coverage under routine immunization.
  2. Additional assistance is to be given to poorly performing States in order to achieve 100% routine immunization.

85. Polio surveillance should be strengthened and appropriate ring immunization around detected case of polio be taken up.

86. Planning Commission has recommended that currently focus should be on elimination of polio, universal coverage under routine immunization for the six vaccine preventable diseases on sustainable basis in all the states; until this is achieved, the Department of Family Welfare should refrain from adding any new vaccines in the National programme

Identification and referral of high risk pregnant women

87. Neonatal, perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality had not shown a substantial decline in the last four decades. Lack of universal screening of pregnant women for risk factors and appropriate referral are the major factors responsible for this. Identification of high risk pregnant women and referring them to appropriate level of care is a critical component of RCH programme. The programme envisages provision of necessary equipment for screening pregnant women and a massive skill upgradation training for the personnel in the primary health care system for carrying out screening during pregnancy. In order to ensure effective, timely and appropriate referral, an antenatal card for risk identification and referral has been developed by the Planning Commission in collaboration with the Dept of Family Welfare. This is currently being tested in some of the training institutions. During the Working Group meeting these prototype antenatal cards have been provided to all the states with a request that they may be tested out in RCH district project and feedback regarding their usefulness, modifications needed to meet the local requirements may be shared with Planning Comission and Department of Family Welfare.

Review of funding of food supplementation under the ICDS programme

88. The Department of Women and Child Development funds the infrastructure for implementing the ICDS Programme; the States Governments fund for supplements provided. Inadequacy of funds is one of the major factors responsible for erratic food supply and poor coverage, under the Nutrition component of the ICDS Programme. In 1999, Planning Commission reviewed the State Government’s funding of nutrition component of the ICDS programme. The current norms envisage that the State Government provides funds for feeding 72 beneficiaries in every anganwadi (against the average of about 200 eligible children and women in the community). The programme guidelines are uniform for all blocks and do not take into account the prevalence of undernutrion in the block or percentage of the families living below the poverty line (BPL). At the national level only 30 million out of the country's 162 million children are covered. The 'covered' children may not be the most needy groups or individuals. There is no guideline for targetting the available food to the most needy. Planning Commission computed the statewise requirement of funds as per the existing ICDS guidelines and if supplements were to be given only to women and (0-4) children from BPL families taking into account state specific birth rates (1997) and BPL rates (1994). Under either of these two scenarios there are huge gaps between required funds and amount actually provided by the states. Planning Commission suggested that the Department of Woman and Child Development may discuss and evolve appropriate alternative strategies to fill this critical gap.

Intersectoral coordination between the ICDS and the FW functionaries

89. The continued high incidence of low birth weight and consequent high neonatal mortality is a matter of concern. In many states, majority of deliveries still occur at home. In order to reduce neonatal mortality, it is important to identify the low birth weight infant soon after birth and refer those with weight below 2 kg to FRUs for care. During the Working Group discussions the feasibility of utilizing anganwadi workers to weigh all infants soon after birth and referring those with birth weight between 1.5-2kg to FRUs has been discussed. It has also been suggested that information on nearest FRU with a paediatrician and obstetrician should be made available in every village for ensuring prompt referral to appropriate facilities for care.

Focused attention for Grade III and Grade IV under nutrition

  • Feasibility and effectiveness tested out in Orissa.
  • Possible to ensure appropriate inter-sectoral coordination between ICDS and health functionaries at all levels
  • Programme achieved substantial decline in severe grades of under-nutrition within the existing constraints.

90. Rapid reduction in severe grades of under -nutrition and associated health hazards has been identified as a major thrust area in the Ninth Plan. During the Working Group discussion with the State Government, Planning Commission has been suggesting that anganwadi workers should weigh all infants and children at least once in three months, identify those with Grade III, Grade IV under nutrition; these children should be provided with appropriate quantities of food supplements on priority basis; in addition the AWW should seek the assistance of the ANM to ensure that these children receive treatment of infection and other health problems. Orissa had initiated a programme on this basis and has achieved substantial reduction in Grade III and IV under nutrition.

91. It is a matter of concern that coverage under massive dose Vitamin A programme had been sub optimal. Linking the first dose of massive immunization has resulted in substantial improvement in coverage; but coverage under subsequent rounds continues to be low. The AWW is the most suitable person for improving the coverage under the massive dose Vit A supplementation to children between 1-3 years of age and combat the problem of milder forms of Vit A deficiency in childhood. This suggestion has been discussed during the Working Group discussions and Gujarat has indicated their willingness to initiate this study.

4.9 HOUSING, URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND WATER SUPPLY DIVISION

92. The Housing, Urban Development and Water Supply (HUD and WS) Division of the Planning Commission deals with formulation of Five Year Plans, Annual Plans and policies pertaining to Housing, Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation, Water Supply and Sanitation.

93. During the year under report, the Division continued to monitor the programmes relating to Housing, Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation, Water Supply and Sanitation of the Ministries of Urban Development, Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Home Affairs and Department of Justice.

94. The Division undertook Mid-Term Review/Appraisal of the Ninth Plan in respect of Housing, Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation, Water Supply and Sanitation sectors as a part of the general Mid-Term Review exercise of the Planning Commission to analyse and review the physical and financial progress of various schemes, including the impact of programmes and to suggest corrective measures wherever necessary to achieve the objective of the 9th Plan.

95. A meeting was organised on 22.4.1999 to discuss the growing problems of arsenic in drinking water in West Bengal, the magnitude of the problem, remedial measures and to review the ongoing programmes with concerned departments and experts under the chairpersonship of Pr. Adviser (HUD and WS), Planning Commission.

96. The meeting on Abolition of Manual Handling of Night Soil was organised under the chairpersonship of Pr. Adviser (HUD and WS), Planning Commission on 17.5.1999 and attended by the officers of Ministry of Urban Development, HUDCO and leading NGOs in the field to review the position and expedite adoption of Legislation (Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines Provision Act) by the States and UTs, where it is not under implementation.

97. The Division organized a Special Meeting on "Key Issues of fast Urbanisation of Delhi" on 23rd July, 1999 under the chairpersonship of Pr. Adviser (HUD and WS). In the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, NCRPB, DDA. NDMC and MCD participated.

98. The Division also organized a Workshop on formulation of an "Action Plan for Shelterless Poor of Delhi City" on 19th November, 1999 under the chairmanship of Secretary, Planning Commission, to make an assessment of shelterlessness and suggest measures to deal with the problem. In addition to Central Government Departments and Govt. of NCT of Delhi, various Non-Governmental Organisations also participated in the Workshop.

99. The Division participated and presented view of the Planning Commission in various Conferences/Meetings/Seminars relating to Housing, Urban Development, Water Supply and Central/Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as :

  • State Level Sanctioning Committee on Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns;
  • State Level Sanctioning Committee on Mega Cities;
  • NCR Planning Committee/Board/Project Sanctioning and Monitoring Group meeting;
  • Swaran Jayanti Sahri Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY) review meeting.

4.10 INDUSTRY AND MINERALS

100. The Industry and Minerals Division actively participated in the project and performance appraisal of various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and the High Power Committee to fix targets for Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) for the financial year 1999-2000. The Division was involved in PSU reforms like granting greater autonomy in their functioning, capital restructuring as well as disinvestment of PSUs and examined the reports of the Disinvestment Commission concerning disinvestment of shares of 53 PSUs recommended by the Commission. The Division was also involved in the quarterly progress review meetings held by various ministries/departments to review the progress of various plan schemes which are under implementation.

101. The Growth Centres Scheme continues to be under implementation and a number of additional Growth Centres were considered and approved. Out of 71 identified Growth Centres, 68 have been approved for various States.

102. Preparation of the final document on Mid-Term Appraisal of the Ninth Five Year Plan in progress.

103. Over the years, adjustments have been made in the policy to accelerate the pace of industrial growth by providing greater freedom in investment decisions keeping in view the objectives of efficiency and competitiveness, technological upgradation, maximisation of capacity utilisation and increased exports. Of late, the performance of the industry sector has shown encouraging signs of revival. The performance of the industry during April-Sept., 1999-2000 indicates that the industry is on the path of recovery with the overall growth in general index being 6.4 per cent, compared to 3.9 per cent during 1998-99.

4.11 INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC DIVISION

104. The International Economic Division is responsible for the study of issues relating to India's foreign trade and balance of payments as well as issues concerning foreign investments in the context of the planning process. The Division also handles work relating to bilateral and multilateral technical cooperation. In this context, the Division is also engaged in analysing the trends and issues in the international economy.

105. A comprehensive position paper on Imports was prepared in the context of the Mid-term Appraisal of the 9th Five Year Plan including projections and expected growth rates during the Plan period.

106. The World Competitiveness Year Book - 1999 received in the I.E. Division of Planning Commission was examined in detail and a comprehensive note was prepared on India's competitiveness vis--vis the rest of the world in terms of various economic indicators.

107. In connection with the National Conference on Agricultural Marketing held from 12-14 October, 1999 at Hyderabad, a comprehensive paper was prepared on Indian Agricultural Marketing and Exports, including implications of the WTO Agreement on Indian Agriculture.

108. In connection with the visit of the ADB Mission to the Planning Commission, a detailed background note was prepared on the external economic situation of India.

109. A comprehensive paper was prepared regarding the EXIM Policy and Tariff Policy Developments since 1991 covering the Eighth Plan and Ninth Plan periods.

110. A detailed paper on India's foreign trade with special focus on the performance of the export sector during the Ninth Five Year Plan was prepared.

111. Detailed comments were prepared and sent to the Ministry of Commerce on the Action Plan for UNCTAD-X formulated by the G-77 Countries and the amendments proposed by the US, EU, Japan and Switzerland.

112. Various WTO Agreements were analysed in the context of the Third Ministerial Conference at Seattle in November-December, 1999.

4.12 IRRIGATION AND COMMAND AREA DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

113. The draft chapter for the Mid-Term Appraisal of Ninth Five Year Plan in regard to Irrigation, Flood Control and Command Area Development Programme was prepared.

114. Various Projects in the sector were considered by the Advisory Committee on Irrigation, Flood Control and Multipurpose Projects of the Ministry of Water Resources. Based on the Committee’s recommendations investment approvals were issued, details of which are indicated in Annexure 4.1.

115. During the year 1999-2000 , the Union Government provided central assistance by way of loans under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme to the States for timely completion of selected Irrigation and Multi-purpose projects.

116. Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) was started in 1995-96 to extend loans to the State Governments for various purposes which interalia include irrigation, soil conservation, water-shed management, rural roads and bridges etc. During 1998-99 under RIDF-IV, an amount of Rs. 3000 crores was allocated to NABARD for providing loans to the State Governments in order to accelerate the completion of Rural Infrastructure Projects including Irrigation and Flood Control Projects. This would help the State Governments in early completion of various ongoing projects. The corpus of RIDF V was raised to Rs. 3500 Crores.

117. The Government of India had constituted a High Powered Commission in September 1996 for Integrated Water Resources Development Programme to take a holistic view of the overall water resources in the country and maximizing the availability and its utilization including consideration of inter-basin transfers. The Commission has submitted its report on December Ist 1999.

Table 4.2: Project Approved by I and CAD Division of the Planning Commission from Ist April 1999 and onward

(Rs.in lakh)

Sl.No.

Name of Project

Estimated
Cost

Date of Approval

State

1

Scheme on raising and strengthening to T/Dyke alongR/B of Kopilli river from Ahutguri-Amsoi P.W.D.Road to A.T.Road and A.T. Road to Rly.Bridge (ch.o m to ch.15,800 m)

271.79

12.4.99

Assam

2.

Scheme on "Protection of Bazar area and surrounding paddy field at Harangiao from erosion of river Jatinga and its tributaries(ch.190 m to ch.1490 m)

134.92

12.4.99

Assam

3.

Scheme on Protection of the villages Mogormari, Kashibari, Barman Bazar, Lalmati and also adjoining area from the erosion of river Gaurang (L/B)

346.27

12.4.99

Assam

4.

Scheme on Raising and Strengthening of flood embankment along Kollang River from Raha to Jagi R/B and Azarbari to Rly.Bridge L/B (Phase-D(ch.18899 m to Ch.3800m)

262.33

12.4.99

Assam

5.

Scheme on Protection of different reaches from the erosion of river Dhansiri at Assam-Nagaland border in Karbi-Anglong district of Assam, Phase I

334.25

12.4.99

Assam

6.

Scheme on Protection of different reaches from the erosion of river Dhansir at Assam-Nagaland border in Karbi-Anglong district of Assam, Phase-II

303.13

12.4.99

Assam

7

Scheme on Anti-erosion measures to protect Singari-Siparin area from the erosion of river Brahmaputra under Sonitpur district

188.86

4.6.99

Assam

8.

Scheme on raising and strengthening to dyke along left bank of river Katakhal from Ratanpur ghat to Mohanpur including anti-erosion measures at Ratanpur

247.278

4.6.99

Assam

9.

Scheme of Protection of Katakhal Bazar from erosion of river Barak on its left bank at Kalinagar area

329.885

4.6.99

Assam

10.

Lower Suktel Irrigation (Major)Project – Orissa

21713

25.6.99

Orissa

11.

Scheme on Construction of retirement from ch.33.45 km. To ch.38.75 km of B/Dyke from Balikuchi to Faktirgang at Jaleswar – Beldubi area

332.11

8.12.99

Assam

12.

Bawabthadi Major Irrigation Project,Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

16157

16.12.99

Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

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