release of funds for programme implementation as well as states refuse to depute functionaries to panchayats to implement programmes. This is the situation after 25 years of enacting the Panchayati Raj system of local governance.
On the other hand, for poor states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, the spread of social programmes will be big and the budget will be high. Currently, these are the states infamous for bad governance and least capacity to implement programmes. So, the states that host the country’s largest chunk of poor may not get any result in the immediate future due to the financial gain and autonomy to implement programmes. The other important question is how will the Central government monitor the progress of development programmes? The newly formed niti Aayog is empowered to monitor this, as Modi has written to the chief ministers. The new body comprises chief ministers and we cannot expect objectivity in performance evaluation. What’s more, the new body is yet to spell out the specifics of how it wants to monitor states’ performance with the new changes. From this year, the Central government will send all development assistance straight to the common pool of states to be used as budgetary support. This means state budgets will be the new instruments to gauge development performance.