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World Bank officials unhappy with progress of Neeranchal project

World Bank officials unhappy with progress of Neeranchal project
New Delhi: It was the Secretary of Department of Land Revenue (DoLR) who informed a Parliamentary Committee that World Bank officials had expressed dissatisfaction over implementation of Prime Minister's Irrigation Development Project Neeranchal.
This is a part of record of a report on Watershed Development component of Pradhanmantri Krishi Sinchayee(irrigation) Yojona, erstwhile Integrated Water Management Programme, tabled in the Parliament recently.
The Union government and the World Bank signed a USD 178.50 million credit for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project to improve watershed management in rural rain fed areas.
The project builds on a long-standing partnership between the World Bank and Government of India around watershed management. The agreement was signed in January 2016.
It was aimed to cater mainly to the states ruled by BJP and their allies.
The project will support the watershed activities of the PMKSY in selected sites in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.
It will cover about 400 sub-watersheds of about 5,000 ha each and reach approximately 482,000 farmer households and two million people.
On responding to a query regarding the ground reality of the Neeranchal Project so far, DoLR Secretary during the course of evidence stated that,"in the month of April-May of 2017 a team of World Bank consultant came here and they had undertaken a review on the progress. But I must say our performance was very unsatisfactory. The reason for unsatisfactory performance is due to non-release of funds and the fact that appointment of experts for institution and capacity building started very late. The bidding for identifying experts started in early January of 2016 but till today it was not finalised."
The standing committee on rural development unanimously expressed concerns over this development. The committee feel that this occurence aptly sums up the performance of the PMKSY project as well as Neeranchal project which is supposed to aid and augment the technical side of the projects .
The standing committee found that in many cases malfunction and cases of corruption are not reported properly.
The report points out that in the wake of non-reporting of any cases of corruption in a project gone awry in terms of target envisaged and results achieved so far.
The committee expressed its dismay to the shortfall of fund allocation for the irrigation extension projects in the country.
The Central Government has an elaborate funding plan for these project from the year 2016-17 to 2019-20. The amount required for thgese projects estimated to be 21,110 crores of Rupees. Actually in the cabinet note it was scaled down to 12,090 crores of Rs. A clear shortage of 9,020 crores of rupees is mentioned by the department.
The standing committee directs the DoLR to review its budgetary allocation in context of non-completion of projects due to shortfall of funds and take up the matter in due earnest wth the Ministry of Finance at the Revised estimate stage itself in the first instance.
Gautam Lahiri

Gautam Lahiri

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