After the launch of the mega Rs 1543 crore UN-supported livelihood enhancement projects in Uttarakhand, the worries are now growing on the faces of top government officials on effective utilization of funds.
Under a project sponsored by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), a UN body, the state government would receive 90 percent of the total project cost of Rs 793 crore as grant from the centre.
In a yet another related project, the World Bank would provide a grant of Rs 750 crore for a decentralized watershed project which is also being launched in the hill state.
“We are going to launch a computerized management information system (MIS) for effective monitoring of the IFAD project,” said rural development secretary Vinod Fonia.
But keeping the past track of various projects which were marred by alleged misappropriation of funds, the government is treading a cautious path this time to see better results.
“We will ensure that all the funds are properly utilized and there is no scope of any misappropriation,” said chief secretary Alok Kumar Jain after the launch of the two schemes. But it was not yet clear what steps the government will take to enhance the livelihood of the aam admi. “We are focusing on creating new infrastructure where funds can be properly utilized. We will not focus merely on the skill development schemes,” said an official of the watershed department.
In 2004, the Uttarakhand government launched a similar integrated livelihood enhancement project with the support of IFAD but results were not very encouraging. “Though there are several reports on the previous projects but yes the results were not desirable,” admitted a top government official on the condition of anonymity.
But Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has claimed that the IFAD’s first project was successful as it provided dividends to 42690 people in 5 hilly districts.
The Chief Minister said the new IFAD project would cover 10 hilly districts to provide livelihood opportunities to nearly 1.03 lakh rural families covering approximately 5 percent of the total population of the hill state.