Government to allocate 25% funds for SC/STs
The provision, which has been there since 1970s, was not being implemented properly.india Updated: May 23, 2006 04:52 IST
The Government is working towards allocating 25 per cent of total funds under the Annual Plan for states and Five Year Plans for uplift of SCs and STs proportionate to their population (which is around 23 per cent).
"We are tightening the system. We have already sent the guidelines to the states that they should earmark funds in their Plans in accordance to the population of SCs and STs and inform us about it. In case they do not do it, their Plans will not be approved," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters after a three-hour-long meeting with the Parliamentary Forum of SC/ST MPs.
Ahluwalia said the principle of planning is based on the formula that funds should be allocated for SCs and STs commensurate to their population but "traditionally this was not being adhered to. We hope the states will do it now".
Barring three states the guidelines have been approved by all the other states, an official source said.
The provision, which has been there since 1970s, was not being implemented properly.
According to official figures, during the 8th Five Year Plan Rs 1,283 crore has been allocated to SCs which is 3.36 per cent of the total Plan money while Rs 2,420 crore was allocated for STs, 11.21 per cent of the Plan. In the 9th Plan Rs 1646 crore was earmarked for SCs, 10.63 per cent of the entire Plan funds and Rs 4538 crore, and 11.22 per cent for STs.
However, the MPs had different figures to present. According to them during the 8th Plan a mere 0.45 per cent was allocated for SCs and 0.42 per cent for STs and in the 9th Plan it was 1.09 per cent for SCs and 0.85 per cent for STs.
Under the guidelines sent to the states recently, the Commission suggested preparing separate plans for SCs and STs both at the state and district level and a separate document to keep a tab on the allocation with a nodal officer to ensure proper implementation of funds.
The nodal officer could be the Secretary, State Social Welfare Ministry. Compliance would be mandatory and non-compliance would result in the Commission not clearing allocation for the next Plan.
The Commission is working for a national consensus for creation of a non-lapsable pool of funds for the two backward categories.
Similar guidelines are also being worked out for the Central ministries and departments and the Commission is expected to complete it in couple of months' time. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation would be the nodal authority to overlook the implementation of the Central l ministries and departments.
The meeting was held following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement in the National Development Council meeting in June last year that Centre and states should ensure that funds marked for uplift of SCs and STs should not be diverted for other purposes.
Ahluwalia further asked the MPs to send in their demands and suggestions in writing so that the Commission could evolve a strategy to ensure proper implementation and he said that meetings would be held more frequently from now on.