15 Mar :The Election Commission has asked the Centre to take its approval on carrying out additional work under various flagship schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
The Commission’s direction came in the wake of Cabinet Secretariat seeking certain clarifications with regard to applicability of the Model Code of Conduct on the programmes in view of general elections.
Besides the rural job guarantee scheme NREGA, other Central schemes are Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme, National Social Assistance Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission which includes purchase of buses for urban transport system.
Accelerated Power and Development Reform Programme, Indira Awas Yojana, Swaranjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana, Sampoorna Gramin Rojgar Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme and Affordable Housing are other schemes cited by the EC.Noting that queries have come from various states on presentation of Budget for 2009-10, the EC said though it would not like to lay down a precept or prescribe a course of action, it would advise that in the case of States that are going for assembly polls, a vote on account should be taken.
The EC has also issued guidelines to Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union Territories on various projects, schemes and rural development programmes being implemented by the Centre and the States.
While Reserve Bank of India may continue to take decisions "unhindered" on monetary policy issues, the Finance Ministry would require to take EC’s permission on any policy announcements, fiscal measures, taxation related issues and such other financial relief, it said.
Work projects that had actually started on the ground, beneficiary projects where specific beneficiaries by name have been identified before the Model Code came into force and the registered beneficiaries of NREGA under the existing projects could be continued without reference to the EC, the EC said.
New projects under NREGA may be taken up only if it is for the already registered beneficiaries and the project was already approved and funds earmarked, it said.
There shall be no bar to release of funds for the completed portion of any work subject to observance of laid down procedures and concurrence of finance department, it said.
"The Commission invariably takes a humanitarian view on the work that are necessitated due to man-made or natural calamities," the EC added.