States slow to spend Central funds for minority development schemes, reveals RTI

State Governments often complain that the Centre does not give them sufficient funds for minority development. But it turns out that even after receiving the funds State governments are slow to use them.

According to information revealed through the Right to Information Act, during the last five year plan (2007-12), State Governments have not used even the half the money the Union Government provided them for the Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP). MsDP is an area development programme which includes several schemes, targeted for minorities living in 90 Minority Concentrated Districts (MCDs) across the country. District with at least 25 per cent of the minority population are categorised as MCD.  According to the RTI information accessed by Sayed Anwar Kaifi, different State Governments have used only Rs. 48.2 per cent of the total money released to them by the Union Ministry for Minority Affairs (MMA) till February 29 this year. As many as 12 of the 20 states have used less than 50 per cent of the funds, with few states using as low as 20 per cent. In total, the Centre had allocated Rs. 3780.4 crore for the MsDP, of which Rs. 2667.76 crore was released to State governments which in turn used till February 29 just Rs. 1287.3 crore (around 48.2 per cent). States which used less than 50 per cent of the funds include Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Kerala, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir.

Karnataka, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh could not use even 30 per cent of the funds. States which spent 60 per cent or more of the Central funds for MsDP are Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. Orissa spent the highest amount on minority development. The Centre had released Rs. 256.22 crore of the allocated Rs. 313 crore. The Navin Patnaik ruled State used Rs. 208.32 crore, 81.31 per cent of the funds. Karnataka, the BJP-ruled State was given Rs. 29.39 crore of the Rs. 39.9 crore allocated to it. But the minority welfare department of the State used only Rs.  6.34 crore or 21.59 per cent. Uttarakhand was allocated Rs. 59.50 crore, of which the Centre released Rs.  30.41 crore. But the State could not use as much as 80 per cent of the fund money. Till February, it spent only Rs. 6.09 crore or 20.03 per cent. Arunachal Pradesh could spend only 28.53 per cent of the money provided by the Centre, whereas Sikkim used only 28.71 per cent. Interestingly, even States like UP and Bihar where the present Samajwadi Party Government and Nitish Kumar-led rule respectively have talked a lot about minority welfare, are slow on using Central funds for the minority welfare schemes.

Centre had released Rs.  367.46 crore to Bihar, of Rs.  523.20 crore was allocated to the State. But the State government used only Rs.  167.50 crore or 45.58 per cent of the funds released. The funds used by UP, which was provided Rs.722.94 is Rs.347.61 crore or 48.08 per cent.

Activists like SM Hilal and Shabnam Hashmi, who have been monitoring minority development schemes, have termed the low figures of utilisation as “unacceptable” and “bad news” for minorities. They argue that at present most of the schemes for minorities have not been able to reach their target. Salman Khurshid, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, on the other hand said the low figure of utilisation was not the “complete picture” as the figure is only till February. “The figures till July will raise the percentage of utilisation,” he argued, conceding that “the figures won’t go to 90 per cent.”

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