ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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LUCKNOW- Not Worth the Paper . . .

In this specific context of Iamine relief, the sixth FinanceCommission has been asked to examine if a national relief fund could he established to finance relief expenditure of states facing natural calamities. In the past successive; Finance Commissions have suggested the creation at the state level of a separate Famine. Relief Fund by transferring the excess of budgetary provision each year for famine relief over the actual expenditure. But, as the Fifth Finance Commission lamented, no progress has been made towards this objective. This is hardly surprising. If the experience of the last few years is any indication, the amount actually spent by the state governments every year on famine relief is substantially more than what is originally budgeted so that the question of unspent balances does not arise at all (see Table 2). Incidentally, it is interesting to note that expenditure on famine relief incurred by the states during the past four years, which have been marked by fairly good weather conditions and rains, has beet) far higher than that incurred during the poor agricultural years from I965 to 1967. During 1969-70, when famine relief expenditure was the highest, one- half was spent by only two states, Rajasthan (Rs 63.07 crores) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 13.2-1 crores). Further, and equally relevant, even if the Famine Relief Fund were established, the alloca tion of famine relief giants to the states would require an independent and per- inanesit body to objectively study the extent of damage and the genuine requirements of the different states.

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