Recently a Chief Minister´s conference on Panchayati Raj, organised by Ministry of Rural Development at Vigyan Bhavan in the capital with much fanfare, proved a major flop in terms of participation of the Congress members from Congress-ruled states, even when it was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; amost all Chief Minister´s of BJP-ruled states were present in full strength. The absentee´s included Uttaranchal´s Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Maharashtra´s Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Kerala´s Chief Minister, A.K. Antony and urbanite Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit. Even worse was the situation with regard to Congress´s ally-ruled states: Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi and J&K Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed were conspicuous by their absence. This presents the real picture of sycophant culture of the Congress where the real power centre lies at 10 Janpath and the Prime Minister is just an aam admi. The election slogan of the party, ´Congress ka haath, aam admi ke sath´ seems even to convey that the aam admi of the party is not even its aam PM.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will discuss the inclusion of four Indian monuments for granting World Heritage status at its ten-day convention (June 28 to July 7) in Suzhou, China.
The World Heritage Committee meeting would consider the inclusion of the historic Chola temples of Brihadisvara in Gangaikonda-cholapuram, Airavatesvara in Darasuram, and Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, earlier called Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, well known for its fine filigree carvings.
The proposals slated to be presented from India will also include the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat´s Panchmahal district. It has many sites of archaeological and historic importance. At present, India has an overall count of 24 heritage sites. Every year, the committee includes monuments of historical and cultural importance in its heritage list, which helps in the preservation of these sites.
Besides India, 35 other countries will present proposals for inscription of 48 new sites during the convention. The World Heritage Committee, which comprises representatives from 21 countries, adds new sites to its list every year and also monitors reports on the state of conservation of the listed sites.
The committee will also review the list of 35 World Heritage sites which are in danger, including the minarets and archaeological remains of Jam in Afghanistan and Timbuktu in Mali. At present, over 750 cultural and natural sites around the world are included in the World Heritage list. The UNESCO will also consider the nomination of seven extensions of previously inscribed sites in five countries, including those in India and China for such status.
There is not doubt in the fact that the country is lagging far behind in infrastructure development. But the serious issue is that even then, the infrastructure expenditure, which is broadly classified under the head of capital formation in Central Government, as a percentage of total expenditure is on the decline. The Centre´s capital expenditure accounted for only 23.5 per cent of its total expenditure whereas at state level, this is even lesser, at about 21 per cent.
There was a large drop in the Centre´s capital expenditure from 2000-03. From 24 per cent during the early 90s it dropped by 10 per cent during 2000-03.
Over time, the share of development expenditure in overall expenditure is on the decline. As a result, the state´s development expenditure in revenue and capital accounts for 9.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, registering a decline from 10 per cent levels of a decade ago. Overall, there is a trend of large increase in non-development expenditure, with increase payments being one of the fastest rising heads in the non-development expenditure of both the state and Centre.