Centre too failed to protect SC/ST funds: Plan panel

Centre too failed to protect SC/ST funds: Plan panel

“The Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategies remain substantially under implemented at the level of the Central ministries/departments mainly due to lack of an effective mechanism in this behalf,” the Task Force, headed by Narendra Jadhav, Member of the Planning Commission, said in its report.

The strategy of TSP, which came into force in 1974, is aimed to ensure adequate flow of plan resources for the development of the STs, while the strategy of SCSP is in force since 1979-80 to ensure funds for the SCs. Incidentally, earlier this year, the Delhi government came in for severe criticism for diverting Rs 744.35 crore meant for SCSP to the Commonwealth Games.

The report, submitted to Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said, “Hardly any ministry had shown its SCSP/TSP outlays under a separate budget head. “Some ministries are showing a notional earmarking, but the criterion followed in doing so is not uniform and transparent.”

Moreover, in the absence of this outlay being shown under a separate minor head, such notional earmarking did not have much significance, nor could its non-divertibility be ensured. “In the absence of separate earmarking and budgeting of funds under SCSP/TSP by Central ministries/departments, it is not possible, as of now, to quantify the total amount allocated and/or spent by the Centre under SCSP/TSP,” the report said.

Pointing out the lacunae in the mechanism, Jadhav said the Centre’s planned allocation for 2010-11 was Rs 2,80,000 crore. If the norm of earmarking 16.2 per cent for SC and 8.2 per cent for ST is to be strictly adhered to, at least Rs 68,000 crore (45,000 + 23,000) has to be seen separately in budgetary figures. But there is no way to find out the precise amount spent under these heads.

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