Interview

Planning the Future India : Subas Pani, Secretary, Planning Commission, Government of India

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http://www.planningcommission.nic.in

“In the next one year, we would like to have high speed connectivity in 6,000 blocks and 4,000 tehsils across India”

Planning Commission has played a pivotal role in creating a conducive environment for e-Developmentof India as a whole. What is the road ahead?

Planning Commission has an important role in the e-Governance initiatives of the country. One of the major initiatives is to monitor the release of funds and progress of expenditure. We are trying to work out a comprehensive scheme from the Controller General of Accounts, so that there is the minimum time lag between the release of funds for various ministries and actual unit where the funds are utilised. This will be monitored constantly. This is an ambitious plan and the piloting is going on for the same. We hope that it will be rolled out in the next financial year. A separate dedicated team is being created for it.

The other is that for the overall programme, we are making a major initiative by assisting the state in making the overall planning and monitoring systems for all the plan and progarmmes of both the Government of India as well as the State Governments. For this we will provide number of professionals who have a background in project management in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), evaluation and Geographical Information System (GIS). Through this programme we expect that we will be able to put a GIS unit in each district which will act as a support to the planning team. There are various other programmes for which we are releasing funds, and we are looking into the fact that how they can be converged and be complementary to one another.

Thirdly, there are various flagship programmes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sarak Yojna. For example in the  Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, the implementation agency is an executive engineer, in NREGA, it is the programme officer in the block level. The implementing agency should be enabled to use ICT in an effective manner, so that the primary data which is originating is captured directly and fed into the computer system and the data base is updated. This will compress the time and enable the planners to plan in a better way.

We have initiated ‘reality checks’ of all the 6000 blocks in the Rural Development Department. Reality checks mean the checking what are the computer systems available, whether there are trained personnels available, whether there is data connectivity, which type of data connectivity is available

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