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Export councils urged to plan specific projects

Mohan Padmanabhan

250 districts picked for backward region grant


For rural development
According to a recent note issued by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports, BRGF was aimed at catalysing development in backward areas of the country by providing infrastructure, promoting good governance and agrarian reforms, and ensuring convergence of existing inflows into these districts through supplementary infrastructure and capacity-building.

Kolkata , Oct. 23

The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Jairam Ramesh, has urged all the 23 Export Promotion Councils to chalk out specific projects in the 250 districts around the country that have been selected for assistance under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) Scheme of the Government of India.

This is intended to prepare the EPCs to have a meaningful dialogue with the Panchayati Raj Ministry, once specific projects are readied.

At the Central level, the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj would be the implementing ministry for the BRGF districts, and the total annual allocation under this head during 2006-07 is Rs 3,750 crore. This will also continue for the entire 11th Plan period (2007-2012). And, of this amount, Rs 250 crore per annum at the rate of Rs 1 crore per district is earmarked for capacity-building, with the balance going towards an untied development fund. And from the remaining Rs 3,500 crore fund, each of the 250 districts will get a minimum annual amount of Rs 10 crore, and 50 per cent of the remaining Rs 1,000 crore will be divided between the districts on basis of population and 50 per cent on basis of area.

Talking to Business Line, the Commerce Minister said the scheme includes special plans for Bihar and the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (LBK) districts of Orissa, to be implemented through the Planning Commission. Total annual allocation under this head, over and above the Rs 3,750 crore, will be Rs 1,000 crore for the Bihar package and Rs 250 crore for the LBK districts. It is learnt that in 147 of the 250 districts where the Rashtriya Sama Vikas Yojana (RSVY) is being implemented, funds will be given to complete the on-going programme, following which the BRGF district programme will be implemented. In the remaining 103 districts, BRGF is expected to start straightaway. The funds are to be provided on a 100 per cent grant basis and allocated as additional Central assistance to State Plans.

According to a recent note issued by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports, BRGF was aimed at catalysing development in backward areas of the country by providing infrastructure, promoting good governance and agrarian reforms, and ensuring convergence of existing inflows into these districts through supplementary infrastructure and capacity-building. It is pointed out that Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) from the village up to the district level will be the authorities for planning and implementation, in keeping with Article 243G of the Constitution.

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