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Speech of his excellency LT GEN. J.F.R. JACOB, PVSM (RETD.)
Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh

49th N.D.C. Meeting, 1st September 2001, Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.


Hon'ble Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Distinguished Members of the National Development Council

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Hon'ble Prime Minister and the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission for convening the 49th meeting of the National Development Council to have discussions on the Draft Approach Paper to 10th Five Year Plan and other related issues. This plan would certainly provide us an opportunity and give a new thrust and direction to our efforts towards integrated development of all the sectors of economy to take the nation ahead in the coming five years.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh is spread over a geographical area of 114 Sq. Kms. and has a population of 9 lacs as per provisional result of 2001 Census. Its population is further likely to go beyond 10 lacs by the end of 9th five-year plan. Keeping pace with the overall objectives of Planning, our efforts in the past have been aimed at higher growth. Being the capital city of the two adjoining states it requires a very high standard of civic amenities. Further the rising migratory population aggravates the problem. The population pressure on the city has led to numerous Slums and Squatter Settlements. Unauthorised constructions, Un-planned growth and development in the villages in the periphery put pressure on the infrastructure and services. The city infrastructure was planned for a population of 5 lacs cannot cope with the expanding population growth.

Multi pronged strategies are required. Acquisition of land in the periphery would help the Administration in checking the unauthorised growth around the villages of the Union Territory. This would make it possible to retain the present planned character of Chandigarh. The priority of acquisition of land for the development of new sectors is important, not only for the purpose of development of the city but also for the betterment of the socio economic environment. For this purpose the Administration needs additional allocations during the 10th plan period.

There are other critical areas like transport, power, medical, health and slum improvement, which require immediate attention. Under transport, the Administration's priorities are early construction of a fly over at transport chowk to reduce traffic congestion between Chandigarh and Panchkula and introduction of an electric trolley bus system. In the Power sector, we intend to set up two 66 KVA sub-stations (Sector 48 and 56) to cater to the requirements of third phase sectors of the city. In view of national commitment to provide health for all, the construction of Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32 is likely to be completed by the end of 9th Five Year Plan. T.B. has been identified as one of the major areas of concern in health care. The Chandigarh Administration, therefore, intends to start a T.B. hospital in Chandigarh. Suitable infrastructure in the form of an independent unit for the 'T.B. and chest diseases" will be created. Education is one of our other major plan priorities in the 10th Five Year Plan. In order to provide adequate facilities both quantitatively and qualitatively we intend to ensure that adequate number of school buildings with all facilities like playgrounds, labs, libraries, furniture and computer education are provided. Priority is also being given to playfields.

On the Information Technology front, the Chandigarh Administration has already taken several steps. E.governance of all Government departments is being progressed at priority. An Information Technology Park is proposed to be developed. All the High Schools, Sr. Secondary Schools and Colleges in the city are equipped with the hardware and software to impart IT education.

Though, Chandigarh is a Union Territory without a legislature and its funding forms a part of the Union Budget, it is not putting any extra burden on Union Government's Budget. The net deficit of this Union Territory Budget was marginal in the past. We have now recorded a surplus over expenditure during the last year. In the past 3 years there has been no substantial increase in the plan outlay of Chandigarh. In fact, against the 1999-2000 outlay of Rs. 151.39 crores, our Annual Plan size in the year 2000-01 actually came down to Rs. 149.20 crores. Even our current plan size i.e. B.E. (2001-02) is of Rs. 148.00 crores. Urban problems are getting more and more complex and we need to address them urgently. There should be a substantial increase in the plan outlay of Chandigarh in the 10th Five-Year Plan.

I would like to draw attention to some of the major financial as well as administrative issues which directly affect the process of plan implementation in the U.T. Chandigarh. In terms of Rule 21 of DFPR (Delegation of Financial Powers Rules, 1978), the Administrator, U.T. Chandigarh has been delegated powers to make purchases and enter contracts up to a monetary limit of Rs. 20 lacs. The Administrations of Pondicherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been vested with the enhanced powers to the extent of Rs. 5.00 crores. Due to limitation of these powers, various proposals of purchases/contracts, especially concerning the most prestigious projects like Government Medical College and Hospital Chandigarh cannot be implemented timely as all such cases beyond delegated powers are being referred to the concerned Ministry in Government of India for their approval. This process is time consuming and it results in time and cost over-runs.

The Administrator, U.T. Chandigarh has been given less powers than the Administrations of Pondicherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands with regards to sanction of schemes/projects as well as to accord expenditure sanction on works under Rule 18 of DFP Rules, 1978. The Administrations of Pondicherry and of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been vested with the powers to sanction schemes/projects up to Rs. 10 crores whereas it is Rs. 5.00 crores in the case of U.T. Chandigarh. The processing of schemes submitted to the concerned Ministries costing above Rs. 5.00 crores takes a long time. Sometimes, they are not cleared within the same financial year and by the time financial sanctions are received, there are cost escalations.

The Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, New Delhi— vide its O.M. No. 7(12)-E.Coord/94, dated 29-3-94 have withdrawn the powers of Ministries/Departments to create plan posts in Group 'B', 'C' and 'D' (including non-scientific posts in the Department of Science and Technology). The powers to create non-plan posts were already with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Home Affairs has further withdrawn the powers to even continue temporary posts. This has been creating undue problems to those employees who have been continuing since last 10-15 years. Though our focus should be on downsizing, there are areas like education, health, excise and taxation etc. where we need trained manpower for attaining the planned objectives. But due to limitation of financial and administrative powers being vested with the Administrator including the non-availability of powers to create posts under Plan Schemes, various projects during the 9th Five Year Plan period could not be implemented timely. This problem has been further aggravated with the instructions from the Ministry of Finance to put a complete ban on filling up direct recruitment posts. Andaman and Nicobar Administration is competent to create posts in Group *B', 'C' and 'D' services besides the creation of Group 'A' posts. It is submitted that the similar powers may be delegated to Administrator, U.T. Chandigarh

Finally, we assure full co-operation and participation of the Chandigarh Administration in the process of overall economic development of the nation.

Thank you