Three months after the scheme was notified, “proposals are awaited from them”

Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are yet to respond to the Centre's invitation to send proposals for the Union Ministry of Social Justice's new Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY), a scheme aimed at the upliftment of the Scheduled Castes.

Three months after the scheme was notified, “proposals are awaited from them,” official sources in the Ministry told The Hindu.

Objective

The PMAGY's objective is to achieve all-round, integrated development of selected villages with more than 50 per cent Scheduled Caste population, through convergence of all relevant Central and State schemes.

Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were among the five States picked for the pilot phase, which is to cover 1,000 such villages.

The rest of the States, Assam, Bihar and Rajasthan have sent in their proposals.

And on Tuesday, the Centre released Rs. 55.54 crore for 100 villages in Assam's Nagaon district, 225 villages in Bihar's Gaya district and another 225 villages spread over Rajasthan's Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts. Bihar and Rajasthan have been allocated Rs. 22.72 crore each, while Assam has been given Rs.10.10 crore.

Uttar Pradesh's indifference to the PMAGY, sources said, stems from reasons both practical and political.

First, the PMAGY is a replica of the State's Ambedkar Village scheme, which was drawn up for the development of Scheduled Caste-dominated villages way back in 1991, and which has been refined and improved over the years.

The latest version, the Dr. Ambedkar Gramin Samgra Vikas Yojana came into force on September 14, 2007, a few months after Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party came into power in the State.

Under this scheme, all gram sabhas are to be saturated with 13 different development programmes.

The scheme, launched in January 2008, will conclude in March 2012, the eve of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh — and a total of 17,100 gram sabhas are to be covered in the process.

Against this backdrop, sources told The Hindu, the Central offer of Rs, 10 lakh for each of the 225 villages in Uttar Pradesh do not amount to very much.

Secondly, the State government, the sources added, may not wish to be beholden to the Centre.

Uttar Pradesh, of course, has the largest number of Scheduled Caste-dominated villages — 17. They are Azamgarh, Sitapur, Sonebhadra, Hardoi, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Unnao, Bijnor, Jaunpur, Mau, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kheri, Barabanki, Chandauli and Rae Bareli. Tamil Nadu has four such districts — Kanchipuram, Thiruvarur, Viluppuram and Cuddalore.