The Vijay Kelkar committee report on balanced regional development in Maharashtra and the action taken report are expected to come up for discussion during the two week winter session of the state legislature slated to begin on December 11 at Nagpur. Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, who have organised a morcha at the legislature on a number of issues including farmers plight, government’s inept handling of the implementation of crop loan waiver scheme and deteriorating finances, have made a fresh demand for special debate saying that its implementation was necessary to boost the regional development. Opposition’s demand comes at a time when leading water expert Madhav Chitale has mooted separate Marathwada state while former state advocate general Shrihari Aney along with some local leaders has been pursuing demand for statehood for Vidarbha region.Though not part of recommendations, but in the chapter on perspectives of stakeholders, the committee recorded views like demand for autonomy for Vidarbha or sentiments aired in support of creating a separate state, if the government is unable to remove the injustice of underdevelopment and deprivation.The Vijay Kelkar committee, which was constituted by the Congress-NCP government to suggest ways for balanced regional development in the state, had proposed reworking the development paradigm and resource allocation in a radical manner. The panel had suggested major overhaul in allocation of plan funds for regions, and had 146 major recommendations. The around 600-page report was tabled in the legislature in December 2014. The panel was constituted in 2011 and submitted its report in 2013.Leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde told DNA, “The report came up for discussion in the winter session held in December 2014 but the government has yet to hold debate on its action taken report. NCP and the opposition in general will press for such a debate when the government is not providing enough attention on the removal of regional imbalance.’’Congress party’s deputy leader in the council Sharad Ranpise said even though the government had appointed a committee comprising ministers to study the report and made suggestions, it lacks political will for its implementation. ”The government needs to put the implementation of Kelkar committee report on fast track to achieve regional balance,” he noted.On its part, the BJP spokesman Ganesh Hake defended a slew of initiatives taken by the party led government in last three years to boost development of Maharashtra. He informed the government’s focus has been to complete long pending irrigation projects, strengthen transport infrastructure, transform agriculture and attract more investments especially in less developed areas. The committee had formulated a model for financial allocation that aims to remove the irrigation backlog in next eight years and that of other sectors like health, education and connectivity by the end of the 14th plan or say the next 12 years. Further, the committee had suggested the region wise allocation of funds including Vidarbha (33.24%), Marathwada (25.31%) and rest of Maharashtra (40.71%), a paradigm change from the current ratios of 23.03%, 18.75% and 58%. Further, the committee had pressed the need to restructure regional development boards, which will be headed by the chief minister, and preparing five-year perspective and annual plans for the regions; establish a project appraisal board for managing large public private partnership (PPP) projects, and make power available in Vidarbha at cheap rate.
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Vijay Kelkar Committee report on balanced regional development: Debate likely in the winter session of State legislature