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Agri Dept to face criminal action for not utilising SC/ST sub-plan funds

DH News Service, Bengaluru Dec 7 2017, 22:51 IST

Officials from the Agriculture department will face criminal prosecution for failing to ensure effective utilisation of funds under the SC/ST sub-plans, making it the first time the state government is invoking penal clauses of the four-year-old law.

The decision was taken on Thursday at a meeting chaired by Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya to review progress departments had achieved on utilising funds meant for the upliftment of SC/ST communities.

Officials were found to have given SC/ST farmers a subsidy of Rs 2 lakh to purchase tractors even as the amount was revised to Rs 3 lakh. "It's clear the mindset officials in the Agriculture department have. They can't seem to bear the upliftment of Dalits and the marginalised," Anjaneya said. "We will seek chief minister's permission to criminally prosecute the officials concerned," he added.

Action will be initiated under the Karnataka Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilization of Financial Resources) Act, 2013.

It was also decided to issue notices to the Kannada and Culture, Revenue, Muzrai, Horticulture, Higher Education and Industries departments for skipping the meeting.

Of the 37 departments that received funds under the sub-plans, the departments of higher education, youth empowerment, skill development and labour have spent a dismal 3-6%. Fund spending progress in other departments ranges between 11-67%. "All departments have been asked to explain and ensure 70% progress by January," Anjaneya said.

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