NEW DELHI: The government has given the cold shoulder to the Centre‘s move to send top IAS officers to assess the gap in government schemes in most backward districts and work with the local administration to address them. The Centre has appointed 115 joint secretaries and additional secretaries as ‘prabhari officers‘ for the identified districts.
“Odisha administration did not respond and the officials selected by the Centre were informally asked to wait. It was suggested the officials could visit to see how central government schemes such as rural employment guarantee scheme were working,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
PM has called a meeting of the 115 prabhari officers on January 5. Top officials from all states are also likely to attend. The prabhari officers were asked to visit their designated districts before December 15, the day the winter session of Parliament started.
“Officers who could not visit the states won‘t have anything to share. States that are not keen about this central initiative feel this is an indirect interference by New Delhi. They feel the decision was taken by the Centre unilaterally without consulting state governments and is against the spirit of cooperative federalism,” another official said.
The officials have been asked to visit their designated districts at least six times a year. Khagaria, and , all in , have been identified as the most backward districts and the best ranking among the 115 districts is in .
The officials have been asked to coordinate the efforts of the Centre and states by addressing specific development needs. The districts have been identified based on indicators of backwardness and prevalence of Left-wing extremism. The parameters include deprivation with regard to landless households dependent on manual labour, ante-natal care, stunting of children below five years, elementary school dropout rate, adverse student-teacher ratio, un-electrified households, no rural road connectivity and no access to drinking water.
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