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Governor's Responsibility as
The special responsibility entrusted with the Governor of Maharashtra under the Constitution is for ensuring :-
The responsibility of the Governor under Article 371(2) which has been stated in the Development Boards Order 1994 can be classified into three major heads namely (a) equitable allocation of funds for development expenditure, (b) equitable arrangements for technical education and vocational training and (c) equitable opportunities for employment in services under the control of the State Government. Since the equitable allocation of funds requires more detailed explanation, the other two heads namely, equitable arrangements for technical education and vocational training and equitable opportunities for employment in services have been taken first followed by allocation of funds.
A. Equitable arrangements for technical education and vocational training :
According to Clause (10) of the Development Boards Order, 1994, the Governor is required to ensure equitable arrangements for providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training in respect of the area of each Development Board, subject to the requirements of the State as a whole, and for that purpose the Governor shall give suitable directions to the State Government from time to time; and while doing so, the Governor may seek advice from any person or body of persons.
Constitution of Joint Committee of Boards on Technical Education
In this regard, the Governor constituted a Joint Committee of the Development Boards on technical education in June 1995 with the following terms of reference :
The Committee submitted its report to the Governor in September 1996. In its report the Committee estimated the backlog of student seats in various technical courses including degree level courses in the faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, Ayurved, Homeopathy, Engineering, Architecture, Pharmacy and Agriculture and recommended measures for the removal of the backlog in a timebound manner. On receipt of the report, the Governor held wide ranging discussions with educationists, academicians and experts from various fields and prepared a set of directives for the government. These directives were issued on 15 January 1997.
Governor’s Directives on Technical Education
The Governor considered it necessary and appropriate to issue directives only in respect of MBBS, BDS, Engineering, Pharmacy and Architecture courses as the existing arrangements in the remaining faculties were found to be adequate. The cardinal principle on which the Governor’s directives were based was to pool together the 70 per cent seats available in each discipline for students of the State and to allocate them among the students of the three regions on the basis of percentage of population of the three regions in the total population of the State as per 1991 Census. The State Government had then framed the rules for admissions to MBBS, BDS and Engineering courses based on the directives issued by the Governor for the year 1998-99. However, the rules for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses were challenged in the Bombay High Court. A Full Bench of the High Court, on 2 May 1997 passed an order declaring the rules as unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Subsequently the State Government filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Full Bench, which is still pending before the Supreme Court. The State Government is making efforts to enable the Court take up the case early. If the Supreme Court gives its opinion in favour of the State Government, then 70 per cent of seats available for students in MBBS and BDS courses, in all the institutions in the State shall be pooled together and the number of seats out of the pooled seats allocable to candidates from the areas of different Development Boards shall be determined in proportion to the share of the areas of the respective Development Board in the total population of the State according to the latest Census.
The judgement of the Full Bench of the Bombay High Court was also applicable in respect of the rules framed by the State Government for admissions to degree level Engineering, Pharmacy and Architecture courses. However, certain directives issued by the Governor were unaffected by the Court’s judgement. The State Government had therefore decided to implement those directives issued by the Governor, which remain unaffected by the High Court’s order. These directives are :
As the High Court has struck down the population criteria as basis for allocation, the 70 per cent seats in the Engineering, Architecture and Pharmacy degree courses are at present allocated to the students of the University area in which a particular institution is located. As regards admissions to degree courses in Medicine and Dentistry, the State Government has been directed by the Supreme Court to conduct Common Entrance Examination from the year 1998-99.
B. Equitable opportunities for employment in services controlled by the State Government
According to Clause (10) of the Development Boards Order, 1994, the Governor shall ensure equitable arrangement for providing adequate opportunities for employment in services under the control of the State Government in respect of area of each Development Board, subject to the requirements of the State as whole and for that purpose the Governor shall give suitable directions to the State Government from time to time; and while doing so, he may, where he considers it necessary and appropriate, seek advice from any person or body of persons.
Constitution of Joint Committee of Boards on Employment
In this regard, the Governor constituted a Joint Committee of the Development Boards in October 1996 to study representation of the three regions in the services under the control of the State Government and to suggest measures to remove the shortfall in representation of a region, if discovered, therein.
The Committee submitted its report to the Governor in October 1998. The main finding emerging out of the Committee’s report is that at present regionwise representation of employees in the services under the control of the State Government is satisfactory and therefore no policy decision or intervention is called for at this stage in the procedure of recruitment. It has been decided that after 5 years, a committee of the Development Boards will be set up to review the situation again and based on its recommendations the Governor would consider whether intervention under Article 371(2) is necessary.
C. Equitable allocation of funds for development expenditure
In ensuring equitable allocation of funds, two important considerations have to be taken into account by the Governor. The first is the problem of backlog which had accumulated in development expenditure over the last several years and the second is equity in making allocation of funds keeping in view the requirements of the State as a whole.
Fact Finding Committee
The Fact Finding Committee under Shri V.M.Dandekar had identified a backlog of Rs.3186.78 crore in 1983 in the three regions of the State. The region-wise break up of this backlog is as under :
Although the Government had not formally accepted the recommendations in the Report, from the year 1985 onwards small allocations used to be made for removal of backlog ranging from Rs.200 crore in 1985 to Rs.500 crore in 1993-94. After the constitution of the Boards in 1994, this amount for backlog removal was increased from Rs.500 crore to Rs.900 crore in 1996-97 and to Rs.1100 crore per year during 1997-98 to 2000-01. This allocation was further increased to Rs.1720 crore during 2001-02.
The backlog however, continued to increase for Vidarbha and Marathwada regions despite special allocations for backlog removal after it was first identified in 1983 by the Dandekar Committee. In order to assess the correct extent of backlog, a committee of experts called Indicators and Backlog Committee was appointed by the Governor in 1995 for identifying appropriate indicators for assessing relative levels of development and for assessing the backlog in different regions on the basis of the indicators.
Indicators and Backlog Committee
The Indicators and Backlog Committee was appointed by the Governor in 1995 with the following terms of reference :
The Committee submitted its report to the Governor on 11 July 1997. The report was subsequently sent to the State Government for its views. While accepting the report in principle, the Government had recommended that the views of the Departments in the Sectors relating to Irrigation, Higher and Technical Education, Energisation of Pumps and Land Development, Soil and Water Conservation should be referred to the Indicators and Backlog Committee for consideration while calculating the physical and financial backlog. The Governor referred these views of the Departments to the reconstituted Indicators and Backlog Committee to finalise region-wise physical and financial backlog as on 1 April 1994, in the above mentioned sectors, in consultation with the concerned Departments. After taking into account the views of these Departments, the re-constituted Indicators and Backlog Committee submitted its report to the Governor on 27 September 2000.
The earlier Indicators and Backlog Committee had estimated a backlog of Rs. 15355.77 crore as on 1 April 1994. The reconstituted Indicators and Backlog Committee after considering the views of the above mentioned Departments reassessed the physical backlog and calculated the quantum of financial backlog at Rs. 14006.77 crore as on 1 April 1994. The region-wise break-up of the financial backlog is given below :
Governor’s Directives on the basis of the Indicators & Backlog Committee Report
The State Government and the Governor accepted the recommendations in the report of the re-constituted Indicators and Backlog Committee in November 2000 and the allocation for backlog removal on the basis of this report was first made in the Annual Plan for the year 2001-02. The Governor also directed that the remaining backlog as on 1 April 2001, by taking into consideration the expenditure already incurred from 1994-95 to 1999-2000 and the allocation made for removal of backlog for the year 2000-01, should be liquidated in a period of 5 years starting from 2001-02.
Increasing Regional Imbalances
The regional imbalances had been increasing since the backlog was first identified by the Fact Finding Committee in 1984 and subsequently by the Indicators and Backlog Committee in 1994. The share of Vidarbha in the overall backlog increased from 39.12% in 1984 to 47.60% in 1994 and further to 48.26% as on 1 April 2000. Similarly, in case of Marathwada region, it increased from 23.56% in 1984 to 28.77% in 1994 and further to 29.62% as on 1 April 2000. On the other hand, the share of rest of Maharashtra region in the overall backlog decreased from 37.32% in 1984 to 23.62% in 1994 and further to 22.12% as on 1 April 2000. Thus, the regional disparity continued to increase over the years in Vidarbha and Marathwada despite special allocations for backlog removal.
The regional disparity increased more conspicuously in the Irrigation Sector. The proportion of backlog in the Irrigation Sector in the overall backlog of Vidarbha increased from 42.30% in 1984 to 61.64% in 1994 and further to 68.47% as on 1 April 2000. Similarly, in the case of Marathwada region, it increased from 42.18% in 1984 to 59.96% in 1994 and further to 61.29% as on 1 April 2000. On the other hand, the proportion of backlog in the Irrigation Sector in the overall backlog of the rest of Maharashtra region decreased from 45.56% in 1984 to 27.65% in 1994 and further to 18.42% as on 1 April 2000.
Governor’s Directives on policy of allocation in Irrigation Sector
In the background as mentioned above of increasing regional imbalances especially in the Irrigation Sector, it was the constitutional responsibility of the Governor to effectively intervene and to see to what extent this distortion could be corrected before the situation got out of control. It was therefore obligatory on him to intervene under Article 371(2) to set right the steadily growing regional imbalances especially in the Irrigation Sector.
On 15 December 2001, the Governor issued Directives to the State Government regarding the region-wise distribution of the Annual Plan outlay, quantum of backlog, time frame for its removal and region-wise and sector-wise allocations for the removal of backlog in the Annual Plan 2002-03. The Directives among other things outlined the major policy change in region-wise distribution of outlays in Irrigation Sector over the next four years from 2002-03. Before issuing the Directives, the Governor had extensive rounds of consultation with the three Development Boards, Irrigation Experts, Senior officers of the Irrigation Department and field level officers of the Irrigation Development Corporations in the State. The Governor thereafter had detailed discussions with the Finance Minister and the Chief Minister before issuing the Directives. A copy of the Directives is also enclosed alongwith this note.
Due importance was given to backlog as a factor in determining the policy of allocation of funds for irrigation to curb the growing imbalances in Irrigation Sector. To ensure that no further backlog is created while the existing backlog is being liquidated during the period of 4 years from 2002-03 in the Irrigation Sector, the Governor directed that the distinction between the backlog and non-backlog allocations should be removed in the Irrigation Sector and the Divisible outlay in the overall allocation in the Irrigation Sector as a whole which includes both the Budgetable and non-Budgetable outlays should be distributed amongst the areas of the three Development Boards on the basis of the weightages to backlog, population and net sown area as indicated in the Directives so that on the whole the average weightage to backlog, population and net sown area over the four years from 2002-03 averages out to 50%, 25% and 25% respectively. The State Government was further directed that the non-Budgetable resources raised by the State Government in the Irrigation Sector from the market should be raised for the State as a whole and distributed amongst the areas of three Development Boards equitably as outlined in the Directives. The Directives further stipulated that the State Government should give more autonomy to the regional Heads in the Irrigation Department for giving administrative or revised administrative approvals thereby having more decentralisation of the powers. The Directives also stipulated that the State Government should institutionalise formal participation of the Development Boards in the functioning of the Irrigation Development Corporations through structured consultations.
The Governor further directed that after deducting allocation for the Irrigation Sector and funds for removal of backlog in other backlog sectors, the Divisible portion of the remaining Plan outlays should be distributed amongst the three regions in the proportion of the overall population of the respective regions. The Governor also directed that Rs.1060 crore should be earmarked for backlog removal in sectors other than the Irrigation Sector so as to ensure that the entire backlog in those sectors is liquidated during the period of four years from 2002-03.
The Directives issued by the Governor introducing the new formula for allocation of funds for Irrigation schemes ensured that the interests of the people of all the three regions namely Vidarbha, Marathwada and the rest of Maharashtra are equally protected. The projects under construction were not allowed to suffer for want of funds but the relatively backward regions were assisted not only to complete the works in existing projects but also to take up new projects. This was so because the committed expenditure on ongoing works especially in Krishna Valley Projects was an important consideration while framing the Directives.