Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 6
Punjab, which has the largest population of Dalits in the country, has been diverting funds meant for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for other purposes.
The state has failed to spend 33% of the total Scheduled Caste sub-plan outlay, according to a latest report submitted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The report submitted in the Rajya Sabha recently has put Punjab almost at the bottom for poor implementation of the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP).
The report shows that though Punjab has a Dalit population of 31.9%, only 28.55% of the total plan outlay was reserved under SCSP in 2012-13. Of a total plan outlay of Rs 14,000 crore, the SCSP outlay was Rs 4,039 crore. As per the Planning Commission guidelines, the SCSP should have been Rs 4,466 crore.
The SCSP aims at channelising funds for development of SCs in proportion to their share in total population. The data mentions that while Rs 427 crore has been denied to the Dalits in Punjab under this scheme, only 67% of what was actually reserved for Dalits was spent on their welfare. Of Rs 4,039 crore reserved under SCSP, the estimated expenditure is just Rs 2,725.65 crore.
While over Rs 1,300 crore meant for SCs have remained unspent in 2012-13, the unutilised funds for SCs/ STs in 2011-12 were Rs 1,420.93 crore. Funds to the tune of Rs 1,172.23 crore and Rs 759.33 crore had remained unspent in 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively.
Finance department sources say a proper Scheduled Castes Sub Plan has been made in this year’s budget and 32% of the plan outlay (equal to the SC population) has been kept aside for the SCSP. To ensure proper implementation of the SCSP, the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes has asked the state government to enact a special sub plan Act.
Unutilised sum for SC/BCs in Punjab
2012-13 Rs 1,313.35 cr
2011-12 Rs 1,420.93 cr
2010-11 Rs 759.33 cr
2009-10 Rs 1,172.23 cr
Funds meant for
Scholarships to minorities, infrastructure development of minority blocks
Scholarships to SC and BC students
Shagun scheme (for giving aid for marriage of daughters)
Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (infrastructure development in SC villages)
Vocational training in ITIs
Construction of houses for homeless SCs