Maharashtra should move from the ‘population share’ to the ‘problem share’ approach in its Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) implementation, and allocate more funds for tribal development based on social indicators than on the basis of percentage of tribal population in 15 districts, the findings of a new diagnostic study of the TSP has revealed.
The report of the study, conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) with support from the UNICEF, during 2013-14, which analyses the TSP formulations, funds flow, planning and implementation, and evaluation of TSP schemes, was released by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao in Nagpur on the sidelines of the winter session of the legislature.
As part of the study, a tribal atlas depicting district-wise location, area, population, socio-economic and health indicators of the tribal population was released. Maharashtra is the first in the country to bring out a tribal atlas and conduct a study of this kind evaluating the implementation of the TSP, Tribal Development Department sources said.
“As the gap between the social indicators for scheduled tribes (STs) is not only large, but also increasing vis-à-vis non-STs, there is a need for a larger share of the pie to be shared with the STs,” the study recommends.
Speaking to The Hindu , Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Maharashtra, said, “This is one of the critical recommendations. Maharashtra has an approach where funds allocation is based on population density. So the district with higher population gets a larger share of the resources. Our study recommends that we move from the ‘population share’ to the ‘problem share’ approach.”
For example, a district like Nandurbar has a large tribal population, and gets the larger proportion. But, Chandrapur has lower population, but its social indicators are worse, and hence should get a larger share of funds, Ms Chandrasekar said.
“Another finding was the need to improve the human resources policy. Many posts are vacant and there is a need to fill those. There is also a need to create online monitoring system so that we know who the beneficiary is, and to avoid duplication,” Ms Chandrasekar said.
The study recommends greater involvement of the elected representatives and transferring most welfare scheme to the panchayats. “This is an equally important finding of the study. Involving elected representatives and gram sabhas will ensure that plans are based on the needs of the local people, and ensure greater political accountability,” she said.
The study suggests increasing the depth and diversity of the TSP by using outcome-based planning. “The investments in welfare schemes need to be linked to outcomes through the management information system,” she said.
The study points a gap in housing of tribals, and recommends merger of two schemes with a focus on removing homelessness. It recommends that at least three per cent of a district’s TSP should be spent on nutritional interventions.
The report lauded the Tribal Development Department’s initiative to transfer five per cent of the annual TSP directly to gram panchayats. Governor Rao urged the State government to pass a Bill for the effective governance of the TSP and to enable coordinated development of tribal people.
Professor S Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said, “The TSP is a remarkable programme devised and delivered to fulfil the constitutional obligation of the State to improve the condition of the tribal people. The report called for grassroots planning, community-focused interventions, and a management information system addressing implementation of the TSP schemes by all departments.”
Maharashtra has the second largest tribal population, according to 2011 census, which pegged the scheduled tribes population at 10.5 million or 9.35 per cent after Madhya Pradesh’s 10 per cent.