Thursday, December 10, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Opp raps Govt over SC/ST funds ‘misuse’

Opp raps Govt over SC/ST funds 'misuse'

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 9 – Opposition members today attacked the State
Government for failing to ensure effective utilization of funds meant
for various welfare schemes of the ST and SC people, saying that
instead the Government had systematically been depriving the ST/SC
populace of their legitimate share of funds flouting Planning
Commission guidelines in the process. They also demanded a probe by a
high-level House Committee into the alleged anomalies.

Bhuban Pegu (Independent) charged the Government with failing to
comply with the Planning Commission guidelines concerning allocation
of funds in proportion to the ST/SC populace, which resulted in
deprivation of sums worth several hundred crores in the last three
State annual plans.

"These funds are supposed to be non-lapsable and non-divertible but
the Planning and Finance Departments have regularly been hiding facts
and making false representations causing the funds to lapse and
depriving the SC/ST population of their lawful share of development
funds," he said, adding that all this were going on under the
knowledge of the Chief Minister as he headed the Finance Department.

The House witnessed a noisy scene when the Minister for Welfare of
Plain Tribes and Other Backward Classes (WPT&OBC), Pramila Rani Brahma
was making the reply. Her explanation of the situation vis-à-vis
non-utilization of funds and cut in funds making it disproportionate
to the SC/ST populace apparently was not acceptable to the opposition
members who started shouting and tried to interrupt the minister in
the middle of her speech. The minister said that some departments were
unable to submit timely proposals for securing funds resulting in the
expenditure as being shown as nil. She also said that some lapses had
been there and the Government would ensure that those did not recur in

Amidst the chaos, minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the State
Government would revive the fund that lapsed during the past three
financial years of the State Plan allocation. "We will revive the
entire fund and even give ten per cent more above that," he said.

Earlier, several opposition members expressed grave concern over the
poor socio-economic conditions of the SC/ST populace and called for
adequate constitutional safeguards. Encroachments on tribal blocks and
belts and failure of the Government to fill up the backlog of vacant
posts reserved for SC/ST candidates drew sharp criticism from the
members. Those who participated in the voting on supplementary demands
for grants for 2009-10 included Dr Aditya Langthasa (AIUDF), KS
Narzary (BPF), Udhab Barman (CPM), Sushila Hazarika (AGP), Bhuban Pegu
(Independent), Dr Rumi Nath (BJP), Rajiv Lochan Pegu (Congress), AR
Mazarbhuyan (AIUDF), Karendra Basumatary (BPF), and Anup Phukan (AGP).


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