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Punjab

Pb misses out on ₹155cr grants for SCs in 5 years

January 10, 2019 06:43 AM

COURTESY TOI JAN 10

Pb misses out on ₹155cr grants for SCs in 5 years
Sanjeev.Verma@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The Punjab government could not get grants worth Rs 155 crore from the central government in the past five years for welfare schemes extended to scheduled caste (SC) communities because of its own negligence.


The funds were to be granted under a central government scheme named ‘Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan’. This fact was revealed in a report, prepared and submitted by a parliamentary standing committee on social justice and empowerment, during the ongoing session of Parliament. The committee found that Punjab was also one among states who had failed to get these funds because it did not send fund utilization certificates and annual action plans within prescribed time limit to the Centre. “The committee wonders that when states like Punjab, where there is highest percentage of scheduled caste (SC) population, and Bihar, which has fifth largest absolute scheduled caste population in the country, are not getting assistance from Centre to run this scheme, what is the purpose of running this scheme,” remarked the committee headed by Ramesh Bais, a BJP MP from Chhattisgarh.

The committee has recommended to the Union social justice and empowerment department not to stop releasing funds for the entire year, but release a proportion of the notional allocation to the states having remarkable number of SC population. At the same time, the committee made it clear that the states should be prescribed a time limit and pursued vigorously to submit utilization certificates and annual action plans within the given time.

The report reveals that Punjab failed to get even a single penny against the notional allocation of over Rs 34 crore, Rs 44 crore and Rs 35 crore for the financial years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2017-18, respectively. Against the allocation of Rs 69 crore in 2015-16, it got only Rs 27 crore. The state remained lucky in 2016-17, and got 100% allocation of funds amounting to over Rs 52 crore.

The parliamentary standing committee said schemes under the sub plan would be hampered if these states did not receive adequate funds from the central government.

Punjab social justice, empowerment and minorities minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot admitted to a delay in submission of utilization certificates. He said he issued clear instructions to officials in his department to fulfil all such requirements. “We have sent the required utilization certificates to the Centre and are awaiting release of funds, including the pending postmatric scholarship amount,” said Dharamsot.

According the 2011 Census, India’s estimated SC population is around 20 crore. Punjab has the highest percentage of SC in the country, around 32% of its total population. National capital territory of Delhi comes at the second number, with around 26% scheduled castes; and Himachal Pradesh at third with just over 25% of its population belongong to the category. The ‘Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan’ is a central scheme under implementation since 1980. Under it, the central government gives 100% grant to states and Union territories for economic development of scheduled castes living below poverty line through income-generating and skilldevelopment schemes.

 

 
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