Under-utilization of Prime Minister’s Dev Package

A total of 63 infrastructure developmental projects were to be built up in Jammu and Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) but it is quite interesting to note that only 18 projects stand completed during the period 2015 to date. These projects were related to critical areas of development like roads, power, new and renewable energy, health, tourism, education, water resources, sports, urban development , defence , textiles and the like. You name any area of importance and it is there related to 15 ministries or departments of the Government of India . These projects slated to be completed within a span of five years meant that by the end of current year , the achievements should have been cent percent, as per the provisions of the package in a phased manner with annual disbursement commensurate with the spending capacity of the State Government and the executing or implementing agencies. Funds crunch or gross insufficient revenues of the State Government usually being responsible for such projects not being conceived and planned at all for being built up to usher in for faster development, was fully taken care of by the Central Government hence sanctioning of the Prime Minister’s Development Package of a whooping amount of Rs.80,068 crore.
However, a report of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs which has assessed the performance of the projects undertaken under the said scheme, has pointed out that the jobs were going on under the haphazard manner of fixing no timeframe for completion of the remaining 45 projects which were at various stages of implementation. Why such an approach adopted and how come an increasing dilly- dallying approach adopted in the matter deserves to be analysed . It is not that the concerned ministries to which these projects related were not issuing repeated directions and reminders but why no heed was taken of being sharp must be made known . Not only that , ‘Excelsior’ has been appraising the overall progress of various schemes and highlighting the fact of unsatisfactory pace of implementation process with special reference to the ones undertaken in Ladakh region.
The moot question is that at the rate of 18 projects having been completed in a period of three and a half years, with that yardstick it would take nearly nine years or by the end of 2028 which is wholly unjustified and would entail a cost escalation of unimaginable magnitude. Is it that the projects undertaken under the PMDP or directly under the Central Government arrangement was no one’s baby in the State Government and its administration and the fact that the State Government machinery had to provide logistics and ancillary support only could not be ensured to be forthcoming hence such a dismal performance? When as on March 31, 2019 an amount of Rs.65.5 crore was sanctioned and nearly Rs.30.1 crore was disbursed under the said package , why only 18 projects have been fully or substantially completed ?
The report of the Union Home Ministry does not stop at that but it reveals that a proper follow up and monitoring was actually done by sending concerned teams of various ministries to Jammu and Kashmir who not only expressed surprise and conveyed displeasure over the abject poor performance of the executing agencies but issued directions to them and the concerned bureaucrats in order to impress upon them to gear up the requisite activities . Was there a total absence of liaison between the State Administration and the concerned union ministries ? Were the concerned bureaucrats wilfully not complying with the requirements and not conducting on the spot inspections and fixing time limits, is worth probing to at least bringing out the reasons and causes of such poor levels of implementation of the flag ship scheme.
Perhaps, with the change in the structure of the State of Jammu , Kashmir and Ladakh with effect from October 31 this year by splitting it into two Union Territories, things might hopefully change for the better as quantum of more accountability and fixing responsibility would become the culture of working, performance and deliverance. This part of the Union of India, undoubtedly, needs it in good measure.