Highly-placed sources said the Prime Minister’s Office had directed the Niti Aayog to analyse the CSS and develop a long-term roadmap for them.
New Delhi: Having done away with over 1,000 obsolete laws, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is now planning to evaluate all 28 Centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS) with the aim of implementing a “sunset clause” which would help draw a timeframe for their completion. In case some schemes are found to not meet their stated objectives and even corrective action not leading to any improvement, their closure could also be considered.
Highly-placed sources said the Prime Minister’s Office had directed the Niti Aayog to analyse the CSS and develop a long-term roadmap for them. This exercise is likely to be completed by 2018-19. Once this is done, the option of imposing a sunset clause will be implemented and, depending on the performance of specific schemes, the closure option will also be exercised, they added.
In line with the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations, the NDA government has already reduced the number of CSS from 66 to 28. NREGA, the Swachch Bharat Mission, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, National Health Mission and Mid-day Meal Scheme are among the key CSS in the list of 28.
Sources told this newspaper the Niti Aayog will launch a detailed review of these schemes to determine if they are meeting the stated objectives, and if not why. The review will suggest course corrections to bring the schemes back on track if necessary.
In rare cases when it is found the scheme is doing poorly and even corrective action would not lead to improved outcomes, its closure could be suggested, said sources.
Closing a scheme on achieving its objectives would help make resources available for the launch of new schemes. Such changes are an essential feature of a dynamic economy and society, a senior government official said.
It has been increasingly felt in the government that there is a need for detailed evaluation of CSS as these have proliferated, while existing ones have run for decades without any proper scrutiny.
The total budget outlay of the Centre towards the CSS in 2016-17 was Rs 2.26 lakh crores.
Sources further said that rationalisation of such schemes will lead to a more focused planning process, and help the government to chart a clear path to policymaking, than bear the additional burden of schemes which are no longer socially or economically viable.