'3 states reluctant to join Centre's development plan for 115 districts'
New Delhi: Three opposition-ruled states are reluctant to be a part of the Centre's plan to speed up development in 115 backward districts, apparently peeved over the Union government's move to appoint its officers to oversee developmental work, sources said.
Fourteen of these districts fall in the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha.
The Left is in power in Kerala while the Trinamool Congress and the BJD are at the helm in West Bengal and Odisha respectively.
The three states are reluctant to be a part of the Centre's plan to fast-track development in the 115 backward states that have been identified, sources said.
Asked about the reluctance of the three states, Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav said "political malice" appears to be the main motive behind their reluctance, insisting that such a mindset was an impediment to development.
Yadav, minister of state for rural development, said the officers appointed by the Centre would be primarily entrusted with the coordination with states and observing development works and the charge that they would interfere into state's domain was wrong.
The Centre, he said, had identified 115 backward districts across the country based on a number of social and economic development parameters. These also included 35 districts hit by left-wing extremism and militancy, picked by the home ministry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, official sources said, has said that he would visit some of these districts on the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar on April 14 this year.
He would choose those places which fare well in the developmental work undertaken by the Centre and the states, they said.
"The prime minister has already underlined his vision for a 'New India' by 2022. These districts have been identified due to their backwardness on metrics of health, education, poverty among others. He wants them to be developed by 2022.
That is why our government has undertaken such a massive exercise," Yadav said.
Modi had also interacted with district magistrates of these districts, he said.
The Centre has appointed an officer each for these districts, a move which had angered some states.
It is very unfortunate, Yadav said, claiming that no prime minister had done as much as Modi to strengthen the Centre-state relations. He has given more financial power to the states so their charge is politically motivated, he said.