Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his Vijaydashami speech on Thursday alleged that the Centre has not been spending funds allocated for Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan.
“If help doesn’t reach in time, it doesn’t really count as help. Schemes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes aren’t implemented. Why is money for these schemes not spent? And then is diverted at the end of financial year in March?” Bhagwat said in his Nagpur address.
It has been more than three decades since the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan was implemented. To recompense ‘untouchables’ for the injustice meted out to them, a scheme called ‘Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan’ for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and ‘Tribal Sub-Plan’ for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) was conceptualised by Indira Gandhi in the Sixth Five-Year Plan period of 1980-85.
Strategies were introduced in the Sixth Plan for “channelising to these categories of people their due share of plan benefits and outlays from all the sectors of development in the Annual Plans of States/UTs and Central Ministries at least in proportion to their population, both in physical and financial terms”. The scheme was supposed to empower all SCs/STs educationally and economically by 1985.
The Dalit Bahujan Movement (DBM), which is monitoring the Act’s implementation and held a recent consultation on it, wants representation given on the monitoring committees to five non-official members from the SC/ST community, who have a track record of working on a sustained basis for the benefit of or on rights and entitlements of SC/ST community (of which at least two members should be women).
In case of an unspent amount out of an allocation under the SC/ST Sub-Plan in a particular financial year, the same is required to be added to the next year allocation, but shall not be carried further beyond that year. The sub-plans of the departments are supposed to include only such schemes that secure direct and quantifiable benefit to the SC/ST individuals, SC/ST households or SC/ST habitations that have the potential to bridge the “gaps in development”, especially their individual educational and economic empowerment. Each department, after estimating the gaps in the development of the SCs/STs, is supposed to prioritise the development needs of the SCs/STs through a consultative process.