Saturday, May 28, 2011

Trifurcation row baseless: Minister

by Staff Reporter

KOTTAYAM: Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph has said that the controversy over the trifurcation of the portfolio of local self-government and rural development was baseless and has been triggered with malicious intent.

At a meet-the-press programme here on Thursday, Mr. Joseph said Rural Development and Local Self-Government had been under different Ministers in previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government. At the Centre, separate ministries administered the three departments. As such, there was no reason for a rethink.

He said the three departments came under a Principal Secretary at the administrative level and had separate directors. Though the works could coordinated without confusion, the government had decided to form a coordination committee chaired by the Chief Minister. The three Ministers and the Principal Secretary would be its members.

“This is the age of specialisation. We need a specialised administrative framework for each department,” Mr. Joseph said and expressed confidence that the trifurcation would enhance the efficiency of the three departments. When they had functioned under a Minister during the Left Democratic Front (LDF) regime, Centrally sponsored schemes had a dismal record of fund utilisation.

He said the Rural Development Department would focus on maximising the fund flow for these schemes. One of the often-quoted excuses during the LDF rule had been that the terms and conditions of these schemes were suited to North Indian States and not to the peculiar situation in Kerala. He said the present government would not opt for confrontation, but would impress upon the Central authorities the peculiar situation in the State. In the past, norms had been changed to suit Kerala's specific needs.

He said the Rural Development Department would focus on the working of the development blocks, which would coordinate the various schemes for the Panchayati Raj institutions.

Reacting to a question, he said this would in no way affect decentralisation. Plan implementation would be closely monitored and a State-level plan inspection cell constituted.

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