Nine months into financial year, just 40 pc of SC/ST funds utilised

Nine months into the current financial year, the State government has utilised only 40 per cent of the allocated Rs 16,352 crore for the welfare of SC/STs under Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP).

The government is now left with the mammoth task of utilising Rs 7,100 crore by March this year as provisions of the Karnataka Scheduled Castes sub-plan and Tribal Sub-plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilisation of Financial Resources) Act, 2013, makes it mandatory that the allocation is utilised fully.

The social welfare department, which got the highest allocation among departments (Rs 2,470 crore) for SC welfare is below average when it comes to utilisation (38.87 per cent). Revenue department tops the list with 71.12 per cent and Youth Empowerment is in the bottom of the list with 0.12 per cent utilisation (see chart).

The SC/ST Development Council headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reviewed the utilisation of funds by various departments at a meeting in Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday. For the records, the government has so far released 76 per cent of funds earmarked, but utilisation stands at 40 per cent.

Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said he had directed officials that the total allocation be utilised by the end of the current financial year. “There is provision as per the SCSP-TSP Act to penalise officials if they are found to have been negligent in utilisation of funds.

We will not hesitate to invoke these provisions,” the chief minister said. Sources said some departments like the youth empowerment had fared poorly as they got their programme of action late. Siddaramaiah also chaired a meeting of the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee. He said the conviction rate in atrocities cases in the State was low. He had directed officials to look into the poor conviction rate and set right lapses, if any.

Investigating officers should take more interest in such cases and while collecting evidence. The State was also contemplating on appointing an additional advocate general to monitor atrocity cases, he said.

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