Study finds tardy implementation of schemes for Dalits

HYDERABAD, JULY 24. Expressing concern over decline in allocations and tardy implementation of programmes under the Special Component Plan (SCP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) for welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes respectively, the Centre for Dalit Studies (CDS) here has suggested designating the Social Welfare and the Tribal Welfare departments as nodal agencies for overseeing them.

The SCP and the TSP, formulated in 1980, envisaged preparation of special plans and allocation of funds in proportion to the SC and ST population (15 per cent and 6 per cent respectively) by each department, every financial year, for their economic uplift. Such allocations were made mandatory for all departments including agriculture, irrigation, animal husbandry, poultry, education, fisheries, drinking water and housing.

Huge shortfall

In a study, the CDS found that the SCP allocations never exceeded 12 per cent of the total plan outlay against the recommended 15 per cent in the State, over a ten-year period from 1992-93 and 2001-02. The percentages were 8.56, 10.01, 11.83, 11.05, 8.39, 9.48, 10.92, 9.95, 5.48 and 4.89 during these ten years. The shortfall worked out to a huge Rs. 4,097.01 crores. Similarly, the shortfall in allocations for TSP was Rs. 567.98 crores during the last five years.

Most of the departments have not been making budgetary provisions under the SCP and TSP, on the pretext that their budgets were not divisible to target the SCs and STs. The Power and Irrigation departments that got a major share in the annual plan outlay -- of Rs. 13,000 crores -- have not allocated even one per cent under these two categories in the current year. The allocation for Social Welfare has declined from 8.4 per cent of the total plan outlay in 1995-96 to 2.4 per cent in 2002-03.

Autonomy to

nodal agencies

It was because of these low allocations and equally poor implementation of the SCP and the TSP that a committee of Governors constituted by the former President, K. R. Narayanan, recommended in April 2001that States adopt the "Maharashtra Model" of designating the Social Welfare and Tribal Welfare departments as nodal departments. These two departments should be given full autonomy in the selection of schemes, allocation of funds and diversion of funds from one scheme to another within the overall allocations.

The then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, wrote to the Chief Ministers and the Governors in March 1980 on the importance of SCP allocations. It was followed by another letter in June 1980, by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was then member secretary of the Planning Commission, to the Chief Secretaries.

The CDS has appealed to the Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, to adopt the "Maharashtra Model," to do justice to the SCs and STs.

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