Special Correspondent

Differences over implementation of Special Component Plan in Puducherry

“Government duty-bound to present White Paper to show utilisation of funds allotted”

PUDUCHERRY: The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Tuesday crossed swords with its alliance partner and ruling party, the Congress, on implementation of the Special Component Plan (SCP) in the Union Territory.

Leader of the PMK’s Parliamentary party M. Ramadass said in a statement that the party would stage a demonstration on November 12 if Chief Minister N.Rangasamy failed to declare immediately that the government would start implementing the SCP as per the Central guidelines from this financial year.

Joining issue with Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president P.Shanmugam, who had sought proof to substantiate the charge that the SCP funds were not properly spent, Mr. Ramadass said the government was duty-bound to present a White Paper. Several Dalit outfits had also accused the government of not utilising the funds as per Central norms.

The Chief Minister’s recent statement that the SCP funds would be spent conforming to the guidelines from next year, Mr. Ramadass said, showed that the funds had not been spent properly.

Recalling the circumstances under which the scheme was introduced in 1979, he said according to the Central guidelines, the UT Government should have earmarked Rs.15.82 crore in the Sixth Plan, Rs.37.17 crore in the Seventh Plan, Rs.113.54 crore in the Eighth Plan, Rs.235.25 crore in the Ninth Plan and Rs.616.5 crore in the Tenth Plan period.

Had the Puducherry Government adopted the Central guidelines in implementing the SCP both in urban and rural areas, the UT would have made a significant headway in improving the socio-economic condition of the Dalits. Several social indicators such as individual’s income, ownership of land and house and birth and death rate showed their plight.

According to the 2001 census, Adi Dravidars formed 16.19 per cent of the UT’s population of 9,74,345, Mr. Ramadass said, adding that in the rural areas they were 28.83 per cent in the Puducherry region and 23.22 per cent in the Karaikal region. They were spread over all the rural and urban areas in the UT.

Against the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call at the National Development Council meeting on June 26, 2005 to utilise the SCP funds without diversion or delay to reduce the gap in the socio-economic development of the Dalits in 10 years, the UT Government should initiate steps to fulfil this task, Mr. Ramadass said.

“Relax rules”

Under the 11th Five Year Plan, the Centre had allocated Rs.1,455 crore for Puducherry for 2007-2008. The UT Government should come forward to earmark Rs.232.8 crore for the SCP, he said. He also called for steps to relax the rules with the Central Government’s concurrence for proper utilisation of the funds through an effective implementation agency. Monitoring panels comprising local body representatives should be formed in the municipalities and the commune panchayats, he said.