The Telegraph
Saturday , May 31 , 2014
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Project review after debacle

- Gogoi announces panel to monitor schemes

Guwahati, May 30: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi is apparently taking a relook at Dispur’s delivery mechanism following the Congress’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

He announced today that an implementation committee, headed by chief secretary Jitesh Khosla, would be set up to oversee time-bound and proper implementation of government schemes.

The decision comes within days of state BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal being appointed as the Union minister of state (independent charge) for skill development, entrepreneurship, youth affairs and sport.

“Since Sonowal’s departments are youth-oriented, a little effort with schemes under him could make a huge dent in the Congress vote bank in the Assembly polls, scheduled for 2016. The state government has to pull up its socks now,” a Congress insider said.

There have been a lot of complaints/allegations about projects getting delayed or implemented half-heartedly or funds being misused. Congress workers have accused several departments of not laying adequate stress on implementation of projects, which could have helped the party connect with the masses. Gogoi himself is facing a lot of flak for the party’s poor performance.

The Congress won three of the 13 seats it contested, down from seven in 2009.

This is, however, not the first time Dispur is trying to beef up implementation of projects. The government had in October appointed (with cabinet status) former chief secretary P.P. Varma as an adviser to the chief minister to oversee and monitor the Centre’s flagship programmes and the chief minister’s special programmes. Even the state unit of the Congress had appointed former minister Ripun Bora as chairman of a committee to monitor the implementation of the Centre’s the flagship programmes.

As part of the plan drawn up by Gogoi after consultations with senior bureaucrats, Khosla would monitor the implementation of schemes and principal secretaries, commissioners and secretaries would be responsible for implementation of the schemes of their respective departments.

The stress now will be mainly on how schemes could be implemented fast and within a specific timeframe and how rules and regulations could be simplified.

During the talks, Gogoi underscored the need to make the office of the divisional commissioners more active so that people need not come to Dispur to get their work done.

He also announced that an administrative reforms committee, headed by a senior retired bureaucrat either from the state or the Centre, would be constituted. It would have to submit its report within two months.