MSDP: Centre yet to release fund worth Rs 687cr for fiscal 2020-21

Kolkata: The Modi government is yet to give sanction and release fund for the projects meant for implementation in 2020-21 under the Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP), which is now called Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK), worth Rs 687 crore in Bengal.

This comes when Bengal maintains one of the best track records of 87 per cent utilisation of the funds sanctioned earlier and implemented the highest number of works (under MSDP) among all other states for the past consecutive 11 years till 2019-20.

With the "inordinate delay" to give sanction to the projects utilising which infrastructure development programmes are undertaken at minority development areas, political analysts raised questions whether it was done so that the proposed projects (of which state government bears 40 percent of the total cost) cannot be undertaken ahead of the Assembly elections that held in March-April of 2021?

This comes even when Bengal has come as one of the few states that already fulfilled the modalities of the Public Finance Management System (PFMC), which is mandatory for the same.

The PMJVK (erstwhile MSDP) projects are related to creation of better infrastructure for education, skill development, health, sanitation, supply of drinking water and schemes for creating income generating opportunities with the objective of filling the gaps in the existing government schemes and at the same time to take up innovative projects for the welfare of the minorities. In the last two years, the Centre is asking the states to take up major projects under the programme for "better direct


In the 2019-20 fiscal, the total work worth Rs 424 crore was taken up under MSDP in the state and it was the highest among all states in the country. A sum of Rs 183.09 crore was released by the state government for MSDP during the 2019-20 fiscal. The projects get implemented where the population of minority communities is more than 25 per cent.

There are around 158 blocks, 15 towns and 10 minority concentrated district headquarters where the projects under the scheme get implemented.

According to a senior state government officer, Bengal is one of the few states with 87 percent utilisation of the fund released earlier.

"There are many BJP-run states even with 50 per cent utilisation, but their projects have been sanctioned and allotment of funds has increased when Bengal's projects under MSDP for the year 2020-21 is yet to be cleared. We have just received some residual amount of 2019-20 in 2020-21 fiscal as some projects for arsenic free water supply was taken up and another Rs 110 crore for the works done after super cyclone Amphan. But neither sanction nor clearance for the projects worth Rs 687 crore under MSDP is yet to be given despite repeated requests. An empowered committee sanctions the projects," the officer said.

"Usually by this time the proposals for the current fiscal (2021-22) gets submitted, this time it has not been done yet as waiting for the sanction and release of funds for the projects proposed for 2020-21 financial year. The proposal for the current year will be sent

shortly," the officer said, adding that the delay is something "unusual".

The state government has written repeated letters to the Centre in this connection, finally just a meeting held in this regard in mid-October.

However, the Bengal government has implemented a series of projects to develop infrastructure and implement different schemes in minority dominated areas as the state government's budget for Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education was Rs 3,600 crore in 2020-21 financial year and Rs 4,777.82 crore in 2021-22.

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