Rajya Sabha

December 7, 2015

Cooperative federalism in name, not operation: Dola Sen in RS

Cooperative federalism in name, not operation: Dola Sen in RS

Over the last year, large cuts in budgetary allocations to key Ministries and reductions in the funding of Centrally-Sponsored schemes have affected state development efforts.

State efforts in modernisation of police forces no longer receive Central support. Amongst talk about Digital India, the National e-Governance Plan has been wound up. The Backward Regions Grant Fund too has been shut down – even though West Bengal is still owed 40% of Central funds for BRGF over the last five years.

Such scaling back is clear in key welfare schemes too. The Minister of Women and Child Development has stated that budget cuts to her Ministry will make it hard to fight child malnutrition. And indeed, though one in three children in the country is malnourished, the allocation to the Integrated Child Development Scheme has been cut by 47% from the year before. Even the funding pattern of Schemes that were earlier identified as fully Centre-supported is being changed. The funding pattern of thePradhanMantri Gram SadhakYojana– earlier listed as a fully supported Scheme – wassuddenly changed to 60:40 earlier this month.

The Government must explain how State Governments are to carry on critical welfare programmes, and ensure development in the states without adequate funds. Increased devolution of tax funds will not help if they’re matched by additional funding cuts across the board.