Special Correspondent

“Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan is little known among officials”

Tamil Nadu Government has decided to bring out a separate annexure in the budget

Funds are used for building police quarters and providing subsidised fuel to fishermen

CUDDALORE: Serious lapses have been noticed in the implementation of the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) for which the Central and State Governments are supposed to allocate several thousand crores annually.

For instance, the Centre would have to set aside Rs. 50,000 crore (16 per cent of the Rs.3.2-lakh crore budget) and the Tamil Nadu Government Rs. 2,660 crore (19 per cent of the Rs.14,000 crore).

The funds are either diverted for other schemes or allowed to lapse. Though in vogue since , the scheme is little known among the officials, the stakeholders, SC leaders and organisations.

Deliberations

Such lacunae came to light during the district-level deliberations held here on Tuesday, with K. Christodas Gandhi, chairperson of the sub-group of the SCSP and Secretary, Social Reform Department, in the chair.

Mr. Gandhi told reporters that the problem arose because the funds were not fully allocated for the scheme. Therefore, to set things right, the XI Plan had laid a thrust on “inclusive and faster growth,” sought separate budgetary provisions and made the funds non-divertible and non-lapsable.

Mr. Gandhi said the State Government had decided to bring out a separate annexure in the budget for the purpose. So far, the awareness meetings were held in 23 districts and the participants wanted aid for cluster houses increased from Rs.37,000 to Rs.3 lakh, and scholarship for professional courses.

Meagre allocation

D. Ravikumar, MLA, said the funds under the scheme were being diverted for construction of police quarters, subsidised fuel for fishermen, the nutrition meal scheme and welfare schemes for farm labourers.

When the Government was flush with funds, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was exhorting students and aspirants for cluster houses to obtain bank loans, which they could ill afford. While Rs. two lakh was spent on a fair price shop, the allocation for a cluster house was Rs. 37,000.

The claustrophobic condition of the houses had forced the inhabitants to sleep in the open. He attributed the lapses to the lack of a monitoring mechanism.

District panchayat chairperson Silambu Selvi said the cluster houses were being built only from the contributions of the MLAs’ constituency development fund.

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