The government will start monitoring the usage of funds meant for implementation of schemes for scheduled castes in view of complaints that budgetary allocations are being diverted to other programmes by states. The move follows the PMO’s decision to entrust the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry with the responsibility of monitoring the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP), which earlier was under the NITI Aayog’s mandate.
Under SCSP, states are required to formulate schemes for the welfare of scheduled castes and also allocate funds for their implementation.
Also, every central ministry or department is required to allocate funds for the welfare of Dalits. “We have developed monitoring based on the framework designed by NITI Aayog to ensure funds meant for SCs are not being diverted to other programmes,” Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said today.
As per last year’s annual report by National Commission for Scheduled Caste, funds spent on schemes meant for SCs were only a tiny fraction of the total allotted under the SCSP. According to a senior official in the ministry, letters are being written to all state governments to ensure proper usage of funds allocated for the welfare of SCs.
While addressing a press conference on the ‘Major Social Welfare Initiatives’ to mark the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar here, Gehlot informed that 14 scholarship schemes covering 3.54 crore SCs, OBCs, denotified, nomadic and semi- nomadic tribes (DNTs) students are under digital payment. He emphasised that the government is committed for the social, economic and educational uplift of SCs and has enunciated policies and schemes across different ministries.
He informed that a new scheme ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ has been launched recently for distribution of aids and assisted living devices to senior citizens free of cost to help them overcome their age-related physical impairment and lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on caregivers or other members of the family.
The scheme is expected to benefit 5.2 lakh citizens over a period of three years.
Referring to Ambedkar scheme for social integration through inter-caste marriages, the minister said that the objective is to extend financial incentive to couples to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
He further said that places related to Dr Ambedkar such as Janam Bhoomi, Mhow, Shiksha Bhoomi 10, King Henry Road, London, Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur, Parinirvan Bhoomi, 26, Alipur Road in New Delhi and Chaitya Bhoomi, Dadar, Mumbai were declared ‘Panchtirth’ and are being developed by the government.