An ambitious scheme launched on Chinese pattern for promoting manufacturing of products in rural areas through public-private panchayat partnership will be discontinued during 12th Plan Period, Government said today.
In its Action Taken Report tabled in Parliament, Government said that "it has been decided to discontinue" the scheme of Rural Business Hub, which was conceptualised as a follow up of the Prime Minister's statement in 2004, during the 12th plan period (2012-17).
A parliamentary panel, which scruitinised the scheme, had recommended that the Government should re-visit it with a view to either making a proper scheme with adequate funds or dispense with totally so that national resources are not frittered away in small schemes like the present one.
The Standing Committee on Rural Development, Chaired by Sumitra Mahajan, noted that the scheme was visualised as a pilot scheme for providing technical support and marketing linkages to rural products and producers.
The Committee, however, found that the financial allocation under the scheme had been minimal with release of less than Rs two crore yearly during the 11th plan period and and the allocation for the fiscal year 2012-13 has been brought down to an insignificant amount of Rs 25 lakh.
"Even thought the scheme was conceptualiaed as a follow up of the Prime Minister's statement made in as early as 2004 comparing with China pattern for encouraging rural hubs, the Committee find that the Scheme has remained only in paper," it noted.
The Committee said it was "astonished" to find that the Ministry can run a national programme meant for all states with a meagre budget of Rs 25 lakh.
In its reply, the Government said, "it has been decided to discontinue the scheme during the 12th Plan Period.
Accordingly, a token allocation of Rs 25 lakh has been provided in the budget for the current year for meeting the committed liabilities of the approved ongoing projects only".
The Government also agreed to the Parliamentary panel's recommendation that the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) should be strengthened "in a realistic manner".
It said that strengthening fo the PRIs are "main mission of the Panchayati Raj Ministry.
"Keeping this in view, the scheme of Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA) has been conceptualised to address issues of infrastructure and manpower for strengthening Panchayats and for the training and capacity building of elected representatives of PRIs and official functionaries," it said.
In the scheme, special focus is envisaged for strengthening of training infrastructure, it noted.