The Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) is in the dock for underspending its allocation year-on-year. As a result, the Finance department has said that it would not consider new proposals pertaining to women and child development in the upcoming budget if spending does not improve by the end of the fiscal.
In a stinker addressed to DWCD Secretary Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) I S N Prasad has pointed out that the department has been consistently faltering on expenditure.
“Having observed the department’s expenditure against the budget allocated, the department has spent very little funds. A similar pattern has been noticed in the past as well,” the letter stated. The department now needs to spend the funds allocated before the end of the financial year, failing which the government will not entertain any requests for additional budget in the coming year, Prasad has warned.
Even funds for Central schemes remain unspent, the Finance department has noted. “The government has granted funds for centrally-sponsored schemes, by matching the state government’s share in the same. However, even these funds remain unutilised.”
According to state government data on department-wise progress under centrally-sponsored schemes, the Department of Women & Child Development has utilised 40.31% of the funds allocated. For all the centrally-sponsored schemes implemented by the department, a sum of Rs 3,818 crore was allocated to the department, - Rs 2,788.36 crore from the state government and Rs 1,027.69 crore from the Centre. However, of this, only Rs 1,539.09 crore was spent until November 2019.
That apart, according to data released in a review meeting of various schemes under PM’s 15-point programme for minorities, the department has utilised only 23.64% funds. This includes Bhagyalakshmi, Stree Shakti and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
Speaking to DH, a senior DWCD official agreed that fund utilisation was minimal until now. However, the official explained that it was because of delay in payments.
“Majority of expenses in the department are towards anganwadis, mothers of newborns and NGOs implementing schemes related to women, children, senior citizens and the differently abled. All these are schemes whose expenses are accounted for every month. There has been no glitch in their implementation. But there has been a delay from the department’s end when it comes to payment to the implementing agencies, official said.