The North Eastern Region (NER) comprises of eight States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The development concerns of these States are pursued through their respective Five Year and Annual Plans as well as those of the Union Ministries and Central Agencies. In addition, projects of inter-State nature in the Region are funded through by the North-Eastern Council (NEC), which has a separate additional budget for the purpose.
The North East has essentially depended on Central funding for development works. All the States in the NER are Special Category States whose Development Plans are centrally financed on the basis of 90% Grant and 10% Loan. Further, the Special Category States are allowed to use up to 20% of the Central Assistance for Non-plan expenditure.
The Union Cabinet approved the constitution of a Central Pool of Resources on 15.12.1997. This pool, called as Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), was created in 1998 for accrual of the unspent balances out of the 10% earmarked for North Eastern Region in the budget of various Ministries/Departments. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) are provided budgetary allocation for the NLCPR Scheme for sanction of infrastructure development projects to the North Eastern States out of the NLCPR Pool.
The broad objective of the NLCPR Scheme is to ensure speedy development of infrastructure in the North Eastern Region by increasing the flow of budgetary financing for new infrastructure projects/schemes. Both economic and social infrastructure sectors, such as, Power, Roads & Bridges, Education, Health, Water Supply, and Sports, etc are considered for providing support under the Central Pool.
Funding under NLCPR is on 90:10 (Grant: State Share) basis. From 2005-06, only ‘Grant’ portion is being released to the State Governments. Funding under the Scheme can be made for State sector as well as Central sector projects/schemes. However, the funds are not meant to supplement the normal Plan programmes, either of the State Governments or Union Ministries/ Departments/ Agencies.
The Ministry issued District Infrastructure Index (DII) of NE States on 24.09.2009 which gives the status of infrastructure at district level in NE Region. It helps in targeting the projects in backward areas to reduce intra-regional disparity.
The guidelines of NLCPR Scheme are being amended from time to time to make it more effective. It has provision for earmarking 25% funds during retention of projects in backward/ Autonomous District Council (ADC) areas of the States for all round development of the region.
Projects sanctioned under this scheme are implemented by the State Governments. The timely completion of projects along with good quality of works is necessary for desired benefits to percolate to the intended beneficiaries. Therefore; emphasis has been laid on ‘Effective Monitoring’, which is the key to the successful utilization of resources. Ministry ofDoNER has been focusing on close monitoring and evaluation of projects being implemented in the NE Region under the NLCPR Scheme. In order to ensure this, the Ministry has evolved a comprehensive system of Monitoring and Evaluation of the implementation of NLCPR projects.
All projects are continuously monitored through periodical progress reports received from the State Governments, depicting both the financial and physical progress of the projects and also through review meetings with State Government officers and inspections by officers of the Ministry. The procedure adopted for release of funds to the States for implementation of various projects under the Scheme stipulates conditions which ensure that the State Governments furnish Utilisation Certificates and other documents to the effect that the funds have been utilized for the purpose for which they were sanctioned.
The Planning and Development Department of each State, which is the nodal Department for NLCPR projects, has been entrusted with field inspections of the projects through senior officers of the State and submission of inspection notes. For each new project, the state/implementing agency is to identify a Nodal Officer, who is responsible for timely implementation of that project submission of progress reports. Besides, the State Chief Secretary has been entrusted with the responsibility of holding quarterly meetings for review of each of the projects and sending the proceedings to the Ministry.
The visits of senior officers of the Ministry of DoNER is an effective tool for monitoring as well as identifying problem areas and verifying physical as well as financial progress of the projects for prompt implementation of the projects.
To further strengthen the supervision, the monitoring through independent agencies have been introduced in line with JNNURM Scheme from this year. The State Governments have been asked to make presentation before NLCPR Committee explaining the Status ofoperationalisation of the projects completed, Action plan for completion of the ongoing projects and the utility of the projects proposed in the annual priority list submitted by them while retaining new projects for the respective states.
To encourage the States for timely completion of projects an incentive scheme has been introduced. Wherein, every year for a best performing State in terms of completion rate of projects, an incentive in terms of retention of additional projects worth to Rs.20.00 crore as per their choice over and above their normal allocation is being given.