(NEWS) Plan panel wants special authority for Bundelkhand
Encashing on the inability of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to draw a socio-economic development plan for their drought prone areas, the Centre has sought their support in creating an empowered authority for Bundelkhand. This authority will have the autonomy to monitor implementation of a special package for region and also execute development programmes.
The need for such an authority was put forward by former Cabinet Secretary and now Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi at a meeting called to decide the Plan outlay for Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. The suggestion carries weight since he is not only the member responsible for the state but also chairman of the group set up by the Prime Minister to recommend strategies for economic development of UP.
The response came in the wake of the UP Chief Secretary’s demand that since both Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal have lost potential to become agriculture-based economies, they were entitled to benefits available to states such as Uttarakhand.
Politically, the move has has significance since it will at least ensure that drought-stricken people of the region acknowledge Centre’s initiative in redressing their problem.
The Centre has already set up a group on development strategy for Bundelkhand and its recommendations are at various stages of implementation. A revival of economic activity in the region can help secure a leadership place for Rahul Gandhi who has been raising the issue.
Many farmers have committed suicide in Bundelkhand over the last five months and the state has termed the Centre’s economic package of almost Rs 3,000 crore unacceptable. Following Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s tour in the drought-prone region, the Centre has seriously begun to initiate moves to revive the region’s economy so that the BSP Government does not gain mileage from it.
So, the Congress, through the Planning Commission, is talking of creating an empowered authority to ensure that the Centre gets direct mileage for it.