Next year when states compile their annual budgets, they will get a fair idea whether they kept their promise to spend more on the weaker sections.
States have told the Planning Commission that they would be spending nearly Rs 40,000 crore on scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in their states. The Planning Commission had earlier instructed states to ensure that SCs and STs get the full benefits of central schemes and flagship programmes in proportion to their population. They have also been told to refocus the Special Component Plan for SCs and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP).
A budget subhead created for this purpose at the commission's instance is finally going to ensure that the money kept aside to help the weaker sections ends up where it is targeted.
Planning Commission officials indicated the new rule already seems to have had an impact; several states appear to have significantly raised the allocations.
In some cases like Jharkhand, the money spend has exceeded the recommended norms. Officials suggest that the best part about the new system is that everyone will know if the political leadership matches its words with action.