Vidarbha was deprived of its funds: CAG
By - Jaideep Hardikar
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Western Maharashtra benefited as the region's backlog piled up,
but the powers that be don't care
NAGPUR: In what could explain the developmental backwardness of Vidarbha and Marathwada, the Maharashtra government, it is learnt, diverted huge funds in the budget to the influential western and northern parts of the state, while ducking the Governor's directives for equitable provisions, thus fuelling the already irreversible regional imbalance.
Underlining the non-compliance of the Governor's directives by the government, the 2006-07 Audit Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India finds that in percentage terms Vidarbha was robbed of 70 per cent of its funds, while the neighbouring Marathwada, 55 per cent, in the last financial year.
In absolutely terms, the state government made a provision of Rs1662.58 crore for Vidarbha in the budget though the Governor's directive was for an allocation of Rs 5434 crore. Similarly, on Marathwada, the government spent Rs 1512.71 crore, when the Governor's directive was for an allocation of Rs 3469.91 crore.
For irrigation sector alone, the government allocated only Rs 1391.58 crore for Vidarbha. The Governor had directed to allocate Rs3919.79 crore.
Interestingly, the government tabled this report in the dying moments of the last day of budget session of the state legislature on April 17, apparently to skirt any discussion on the issue. The report was ready in November 2006, so it could have been tabled during the winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur as well.
What's more, the Principal Secretary to the government has not yet replied to the CAG report, sources in the regional office of the CAG revealed to DNA.
The Government of Maharashtra constituted separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and the Rest of Maharashtra under Article 371(2) of the Constitution of India on April 30, 1994. After the establishments of these boards, an Indicators and Backlog Committee was set up in November 1995 to calculate the actual backlog of development in the three regions.
The committee found the government would need to spend Rs 14,006 crore in the state, mostly in Vidarbha and Marathwada, to liquidate the developmental backlog in nine main sectors: Irrigation, Roads, General Education, Technical Education, Water Supply, Land Development, Veterinary Services, Health and Energisation of Pumps.
Following the recommendation of the boards and subject to the need of the state as a whole, the Governor directs the government to allocate funds equitably for development expenditure over the areas of development board.
The CAG report adds that the Governor had to issue fresh directives on March 2007 following the violation of his directives in 2006, to liquidate the backlog in irrigation sector by 2010 and in other sectors by 2009