Farm Ministry Collects Details of Flexi Funds Used for Drought Relief
New Delhi: The agriculture ministry has asked concerned ministries to furnish details of ‘flexi-funds’ utilised from centrally-sponsored schemes for drought relief this year. The input will help the Centre to defend itself during a December hearing of a contempt petition in the Supreme Court.
The contempt petition filed by Yo g e n d r a Ya d av - l e d S wa r a j Abhiyan has alle g ed that the Centre has not taken enough measures to address the drought many parts of the country. It alleged that despite several directions from the Supreme Court, the Centre has not heeded them in letter and spirit. The Centre plans to counter the petition by saying Union ministries and state governments have spent funds on drought mitigation uti l i s i ng c e ntrally- s ponsored schemes made to states. In a letter to various ministries of the central government, the Union Ministry of Agriculture has pointed out that the Ministry of Finance had on September 6, 2016, raised the ‘flexifunds’ components available in centrally-sponsored schemes from 10% to 25% of the overall allocation.
“The purpose of this flexi-fund is to undertake mitigation or restora- tion activities in case there are natural calamities in the sector covered by centrally sponsored schemes,” the letter said, asking mal husbandry, water resources, power and departments like land resources, drinking water and sanitation, school education and literacy were among those asked to furnish details. At the last Supreme Court hearing on August 9, the Centre had said it cannot be asked “to do miracles as this is such an enormous t a s k . ” At t o r ne y General KK Venugopal had told the court, “we are trying to persuade state governments to do the best thing possible. The gover nment is concer ned with the issue and is pushing the best way forward. But grant us some time, preferably six months.”