H.        Post Matric Scholarships                                         

73.       The Committee have been informed that to promote school education among children whose parents are engaged in unclean occupation and to divert the future generations away from the practice of scavenging, the scheme of pre matric scholarships intend to provide scholarship to all who are in need.

74.       The details of maintenance allowance rates as presently applicable under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, are given below:

Group              Maintenance Allowance Rates                          (Rs. Per Month)

                        Hostellers         Day Scholars

 

A                     425                  190

B                      290                  190

C                     290                  190

D                     230                  120

E                      150                    90

75.       Asked whether the amount of scholarships being given to the SC/ST students is sufficient to meet their expenditure, they replied that the maintenance allowance rates were last revised w.e.f. 01.10.1995. This Ministry has already initiated the process of bringing in further modifications in the existing scheme and the proposed modifications also include revision of existing maintenance allowance rates.

76.       They also stated that the representations from different quarters are sometimes received regarding the amount of scholarship not being disbursed to the SC/ST students in time and that the matter is taken up with the concerned State Government/UT Admn. For appropriate action.

77.       The Committee are distressed to note about the delay in the distribution of  amount of Scholarship to the SC/ST.  In their view there is no use if the assistance is not provided to poor SC/ST student in time. A time frame  for timely payment to eligible SC/ST students should be drawnup. The Committee therefore, recommend that the Ministry should immediately pursue the matter with the concerned State Govts./U.T. Administrations at the highest level so that timely payment of scholarships to eligible SC/ST students are disbursed and ensure that state govts./U.T. Administration achieves the anticipated target fixed for the schemes at the earlier.

78.       The Committee strongly feel that educational development of SCs/STs has an impact on their Socio-economic progress. The Committee, therefore, feel that to bring the SCs and STs education at par with other sections of the society more and more students of these Committees should be encouraged to take advantage of the scheme of post Matric Scholarships.

I.          Pre-Matric Scholarships  

79.       The Committee have been informed that the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Pre Matric Scholarship to the children of those engaged in unclean occupations, covers specific target groups viz., scavengers, sweepers having traditional link with scavenging, flayers and tanners, irrespective of their religion and caste.

80.       The Scheme covers hostellers from class III to X and day scholars from class to X. The details of admissible amount of scholarship are given below: -

            I           HOSTELERS:

            Class III to VIII                        Rs. 200/- per month for 10 months

            Class IX to X                           Rs. 250/- per month for 10 months

 

            II         DAY SCHOLARS

            Class I to V                              Rs. 25/- per month for 10 months

            Class VI to VIII                       Rs. 40/- per month for 10 months

            Class IX to X                           Rs. 50/- per month for 10 months

 

            III        AD-HOC GRANT

81.       An adhoc grant of Rs. 500/- per student per annum to all students i.e. hostellers as well as day scholars.

82.       The funding pattern of the scheme is as such that the total expenditure is co shared on 50:50 basis between the Center and the States, over and above their respective committed liabilities which is equivalent to the expenditure actually incurred by them during the terminal year of the plan period. The details of Central assistance released during each year of 9th Five Year Plan period are given below:

            Year                            Central Assistance Released (Rs. In crores)

            8th Plan                                     41.19

1997-98                                                                     2.00

1998-99                                                                     4.4

1999-2000                                                             7.88

83.       Asked whether any awareness programmes provided to the parents of SC/ST children, it has been stated that the regulations governing the Scheme provide for that the State/UTs implementing the Scheme, should give advertisements in newspapers and also publicise the scheme through other media so as to optimise its outreach. The Ministry also requests them to given wide publicity to the provisions of the Scheme.

84.       It is also stated that the Scheme as such covers only specific target groups irrespective of their caste and religion. The Scheme has, however, been able to cover increasing number of beneficiaries during the 9th Five Year Plan period as may be seen from the details given below:

Year                            Beneficiaries covered (In lakhs)

1997-98                                                                     3.17

1998-99                                                                     3.57

1999-2000                                                             3.45 (reported upto Dec. 2000)

85.       The Committee have been further informed that five sample based research studies have been conducted on the working of the scheme in the States of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during the 9th Five Year Plan period.

86.       The Committee note that as such the scheme covers only specific target groups irrespective of their caste and religion. The Committee feel that  massive efforts would be needed to achieve a higher level of literacy among SC and ST Communities if they are to be brought above poverty live. Therefore, the Committee recommend that there should be a scheme introduced exclusively for the SC/ST Communities, so that these communities should be focused properly and fixed targed could be achieved in this regard.

87.       The Committee are distressed to note that the govt. could not make available details regarding the standard of literacy among the SCs and STs. They have just provided the total number of beneficiaries covered during the last three years. The Committee are of the view that in the absence of percentage of literacy among the SCs and STs, it is not possible to know whether benefits of various schemes introduced by the state govts./U.T. Admn. have reached to the SCs and STs. The Committee therefore, urge to make sincere and vigorous efforts to find out the percentage of literacy among the SCs and STs from the year 1997 onwards and the Committee may be apprised of the outcome of such findings.

 

J.         Pre-examination Coaching Centers

88.       The Committee have been informed that under the scheme, SC/ST students are assisted by provision of special Pre-examination Coaching for appearing in Civil Services Examination, Sub-ordinate Services Examination, Lower Services Examination, Banking Services Examinations, Railway Services Examinations, as well as pre admission test for Medical and Engineering courses. Under the Scheme, assistance is provided to the State Government as well as Non-Government Organizations for organizing coaching programme.

89.       In this regard Ministry of Tribal Affairs also informed that under the scheme, grant-in-aid is released to Pre-Examination Training Centres for giving the training to ST candidates for competitive examinations held by UPSC, SSC, Recruitment Boards/Commissions, Public Sector Undertakings and other recruitment bodies. Assistance for Pre-examination coaching was provided in 22 States and 1 Union Territory during the period of 8th Five year Plan and under the scheme provision, as indicated below was made for the Ninth Five Year Plan:

            1997-98                       Rs. 1.71 Crores

1998-99                                             Rs. 3.00 Crores

1999-2000                                     Rs. 4.00 Crores

2000-2001                                     Rs. 4.00 Crores

2001-2002                                     Rs. 4.00 Crores

90.       The Committee have also been informed that working of the scheme has been evaluated by different organizations. Findings of the evaluation studies have been considered for necessary action.

91.       The Committee find that the Ministry have furnished the incomplete information in respect of survey to review the working of the Pre-examination Coaching Centres. It does not contain the information relating to findings the evaluations studies of the scheme in the States/UTs. They desire that the detailed information in this regard for the last three years should be given so as to have a comparative analysis of the Schemes.

 

K.        Hostels for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes girls and boys

92.       It is informed that Hostels for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes girls and boys will also be strengthened/expanded to ensure that the demand for those hostels is completely met as the hostels solve the problem of inaccessibility. The scheme is implemented through State Governments/U.T.s Admn., who are to take action in this regard, as per local needs.

93.       Ministry of Tribal Affairs also stated that all the State Governments especially those from where no proposal have been received in previous years for availing the grant under the scheme have repeatedly been requested to avail of the benefits of the scheme. It has resulted in submission of proposals under this scheme by some of the State Governments like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura etc. As this scheme is also being implemented through the NGOs all the concerned State Governments have been requested to encourage good NGOs to avail of the benefits of the scheme.

94.       The State Governments are being assisted by meeting 50% of the estimated cost. Non-Government organizations are being assisted for expansion of existing hostels. 14 States and 1 U.T. are availing assistance under the scheme of construction of girls Hostel.

95.       Ministry of Tribal Affairs also informed the Committee that at present total of 21 States/U.Ts. are implementing the scheme of Girls Hostels in which 156 educational complexes are functioning with the help of the grant in aid provided by the Ministry. During the Ninth Five year Plan all these Educational Complexes will continue to be funded by the Ministry. Besides new educational complexes will also be considered in the areas where no educational complex have so far been sanctioned. But this will be subject to the receipt of complete proposals from the State Governments.

96.       So far as the progress achieved in the implementation of the scheme for the girls hostels, it has been stated that assistance sanctioned for construction of Hostel has increased from 78 number in 1997-98 to 89 number in 1999-2000.

97.       In this regard Ministry of Tribal Affairs have informed that although the scheme has been overall satisfactory, yet the benefit under the scheme has not been availed by some of the States/UTs. Either they do not send the proposal for availing the benefits of the schemes or they don’t have sufficient funds in their State budgets for providing matching share etc.

98.       In reply to a question, the Committee have been informed that no survey  whether girls have actually benefited under the scheme has been made as such. However, the inspection team deputed by the Ministry visits the tribal hostels to ensure that the tribal girl are benefited by these hostels.

99.       The Committee note that scheme for girls hostel in being implemented by 15 States/UTs in respect of SCs and in 21 States/UTs in respect of STs only. In this context the Committee note that guidelines issued by the Planning Commission had emphasised that the schemes which benefit the women, children and the weaker section of the society more then the population as a whole should have a priority. Therefore, the Committee desire that the Ministry should take up the matter with the concerned States/UTs at the highest level with a view to ensuring better achievement of the scheme.

100.     The Committee note with concern that the benefit under the scheme has not been availed by some of the states/UTs. Either they do not send the proposals for availing the benefits of the scheme or they did not have sufficient funds in their budgets for providing matching share etc. It is astonishing to note that one of the bigger priority programme to provide education facilities to SCs/STs community has not been given proper attention by the State Govts/UT Admns. The reason given by the govt. are disturbing. The Committee would like to recommend that centre should take necessary corrective steps to ensure that the States/UTs accord priority to this scheme. It is recommended that there should be some full proof mechanism to verify the matching contribution by each of the State Govts./UTs. The guidelines in this respect should be suitably modified. 

L.         Book-Bank

Detail of Book Bank scheme for SCs/STs

 

101.     The objective of the Scheme is to provide books to deserving SC students pursuing Medical, Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary, Polytechnics, Law, Chartered Accountancy, MBA and Bio-Sciences courses. The Scheme is implemented by respective States/UTs and the expenditure on the Scheme is co-shared on 50:50 basis between the Centre and the State Governments. The U.T. Administrations are given 100% Central assistance.

 

Scheme of Upgradation of Merit for SC students

 

102.     The objective of the Scheme is to upgrade the merit of SC/ST students by providing them remedial and special coaching in classes IX to XII. The Scheme provides for 100% central assistance to the States/UTs. A package grant of Rs. 15,000/- per student per year is provided and the States/UTs are not required to bear any financial burden. SC/ST students with disabilities receive special allowances towards readers allowance, transport allowance, escorts allowance etc in addition.

 

National Overseas Scholarship

 

103.     Under the Scheme of National Overseas Scholarships for SC, ST  candidates, financial assistance to meritorious selected students is provided for pursuing higher studies abroad in specified fields of Masters level courses, Ph.D and Post Doctoral research programmes in Engineering, Technology and Science only.

104.     The financial assistance under the scheme is available to the finally selected students sent abroad, for the maximum period of 4 years for Ph.D. research, for 3 years for Masters Programme and for 1 ˝ year for Post Doctoral research. The income of the awardees if employed, or of their parents/guardians, should not exceed Rs. 12000/- per month. Not more than one child of the same parents/guardians is eligible to get benefits of the scheme and the awardee can get only one time benefit under the scheme. The prospective awardee should not be more than 35 years of the age as on the first day of the month of the advertisement of the scheme. The scheme provides for 30 awardees per year, out of which 17 are for SCs, 9 are for STs, 1 is for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes, 2 are for SCs converts to other religion and 1 is for landless agricultural labourers and traditional artisans. The Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for SC/ST etc. candidates was introduced in 1954-55 and was operated until 1994-95. It was thereafter modified and the scheme was reintroduced form 1998-99. The students who were earlier selected, however, continued to receive scholarships to complete their studies. For the selection years of 1998-99 & 1999-2000 (combined), a total of 26 candidates (including 7 Scheduled Tribes candidates) are provisionally selected for award of scholarships under the scheme.

 

105.     The details of the SC & ST beneficiaries and the quantum of assistance provided to them during last three year of 9th plan are as under these schemes are as given at Annexure – VI, VII & VIII.

 

106.     The Committee are distressed to note that central Assistance have not been released at a regular basis under the Book-Bank scheme for SCs/STs. The Committee feel that the govt. are yet to take the schemes seriously as out of the allocated funds Rs. 12.00 crore only Rs. 5.13 Crore has been released during the last three years. They would therefore, like to recommend that the govt. should take immediate steps to ensure better financial and physical achievement under the scheme.

 

107.     The Committee also note that during the last three year under central sector scheme of upgradation of merit for SCs Central Assistance released only in 14 states of Rs. 3.26 crore out of Rs. 5.26 crore. The rest of the States/UTs are yet to be covered under the Scheme. It is further noted that the allocation during the year 2000-2001 has been decreased from Rs. 1.50 crore during 1999-2000 to Rs. 1.00 crore during 2000-2001. Keeping in view large number of the states/UTs that are yet to be covered by the scheme, the Committee find that the allocation being made is too low. In view of this, the Committee strongly recommend that the allocation under the scheme should be enhanced so as to cover more states/UTs. Besides, the Committee would also like to know the allocation required to cover all the remaining states/UTs. The Committee are unhappy to note that these schemes are not being implementing in all the states/UTs. They take serious view of it and strongly recommend that the govt. should analyse the position and consider providing an in built mechanism for the purpose.   Necessary guidelines in this regard should be issued to state govts./UT Admn  and the Committee be apprised accordingly.

 

M.       Implementation of Civil Rights Act 1955 & Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989

 

108.     It has been stated that enactments of these Acts, have extended the concept of positive discrimination in favour of SCs and STs to the field of criminal Law in as much as they generally prescribe penalties that are more stringent than for corresponding offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other laws. Comprehensive Rules were also notified under the POA Act in 1995, which lay down, in particular, enhanced scales for relief and rehabilitation.

109.     When the Committee asked whether under the centrally sponsored Scheme matching assistance is provided to the State Government for their schemes drawn up accordingly and proposed by them to intiate oppropriate measures in accordance with the Act. And what provision has been made in this regard, it has been stated in a note furnished to the Committee that under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Central assistance is provided to the State Governments on 50:50 basis and to Union Territory Administrations on 100% basis for measures undertaken/proposed by them for effective implementation of the Acts, which include the provision of adequate facilities including legal aid, the appointment of officers for initiating or exercising supervision over prosecution, setting up of Committees and Special Courts, conducting periodic surveys, identification of untouchability/atrocity prone areas and providing relief and rehabilitation to the victims/dependents of atrocities. Under the scheme, assistance extended to States/UTs have been as follows: -

            Year                            Actual Expenditure (Rs. In croes)

1997-98                                                                     16.47

1998-99                                                                     15.50

1999-2000                                                             24.94

2000-2001                                                             12.35 (as on 15.12.2000)

110.     The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Cell has been established in the Home/Social Welfare Deptt. In the States/UTs of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and UTs of Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Pondicherry. Officers have been appointed for initiating and exercising supervision over prosecutions.

111.     Asked whether the Atrocities being Committed on SCs/STs and untouchability being practiced are not clear indication of the fact that these special cells are not working properly, it has been stated in a note furnished to the Committee that section 15A (2)(ii) of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and Section 21(2)(iv) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 provide for the appointment of officers for initiating or exercising supervision over prosecutions for the contravention of the provisions of this Act and the Special Cells have accordingly been set up by the States/UTs. Atrocities on SC/ST are committed on account of several social and economic reasons. Enactment of special legislation and others measures taken by the Central and State Governments have a positive impact in reducing such incidents.   

112.     The Committee have further been informed that under the scheme 50% assistance is provided by the Central Government to the State Governments and 100% to UTs towards provision of legal aid, relief and rehabilitation measures, traveling, allowance, daily allowance, maintenance expenses and transport facilities to the victim of atrocity belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as his or her dependent and witnesses. The scale of assistance for legal aid is decided by the concerned State Governments.

113.     Regarding special courts set up at the centre and state for the speedy trial of cases relating to the atrocities on SCs/STs, it has been informed that section 14 of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 requires the State Governments to specify, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the respective High Courts, a Court of Sessions for each district as a Special Court to try offences under the Act. All States/UTs (except for the predominantly tribal States of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and J & K where the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is not applicable) have specified existing Sessions Courts for each district as Special Courts. In addition, although this is not mandatory under the Act, the exclusive Special Courts have been set up in the six States (as shown against them, namely Andhra Pradesh (5), Gujarat(3), Karnataka(4), Madhya Pradesh(25), Rajasthan(17), Tamil Nadu(4) and Uttar Pradesh(20) for trying cases under the SCs & STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Government of India provides Central Assistance to States/UTs for setting up such courts. Responsibility of setting up Special Courts has been bestowed upon the state under the Act and not upon the Central Government.

114.     The Committee note that the Protections of Civil Rights (PCR) cell has been established in the Home/Social Welfare Deptt. In 19 State/UTs only. In this context the Committee note that state govts./UTs Admn. have been requested for enforcement of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in an effective manner. The Committee, therefore, urge the Central Government to instruct the States/UTs who have not constituted cell so far to expeditiously set up such cell for enforcing the provision of the Protection of Civil Right Act.

115.     The Committee are unhappy to note the way the Govt. have washed their hands on the issue of setting up Special Court’s by submitting that responsibility of setting up Special Courts has been bestowed upon the state under the Act and not upon the Central Govt. They take serious view of it and strongly recommend that the govt. should analyse the position of setting Special Courts under the Act keeping in view the fact that the scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme. Necessary guidelines in this regard should be issued to State Govts./UTs Admns. and the Committee be apprised accordingly.

 

N.        Development Corporations

116.     The Committee have been informed that a new strategy for the development of Scheduled Castes and who constitute the poorers of the poor was announced by the end of 5th Five Year Plan. This strategy is a combination of the three instruments namely; (1) Special Componenent Plan for States/UTs and Central Ministries (2) Special Central Assistance of Special Component Plan for States/UTs and (3) Scheduled Castes Development Corporations in the States/UTs for these Corporations.

117.     The following States/UTs have set up Scheduled Castes Development Corporations.

1.                  Andhra Pradesh

2.                  Assam

3.                  Bihar

4.                  Goa

5.                  Gujarat

6.                  Haryana

7.                  Himachal Pradesh

8.                  Jammu & Kashmir

9.                  Karnataka

10.              Kerala

11.              Madhya Pradesh

12.              Maharashtra

13.              Orissa

14.              Punjab

15.              Rajasthan

16.              Sikkim

17.              Tamil Nadu

18.              Tripura

19.              Uttar Pradesh

20.              West Bengal

21.              Chandigarh

22.              Delhi

23.              Pondicherry

24.              Daman & Diu

25.              Dadra and Nagar Haveli

118.     The Committee have further been informed that Scheduled Castes, living below the poverty line, are provided assistance by the State Scheduled Castes  Development Corporations.  Besides SC families living below double the poverty line are also assisted by National SC/ST Finance and Development Corporation.  SCDCs and NSFDC provided the following types of financial assistance.

i)                    The SCDCs have been providing guidance, assistance and loan to Scheduled Castes  beneficiaries for undertaking economic activities.  They are acting as State Channelising Agency of NSFDC in the State.  The SCDCs finance employment oriented schemes in the areas of agriculture and allied activities including minor irrigation, Small Scale Industry, Transport and Trade and Service Sector by way of margin money loan, term loan.  Besides loans from banks is arranged by SCDCs.

ii)                   In most of State, SCDCs are involved in utilisation of fund released as Special Central Assistance (SCA) to the State.

iii)                 Term Loan Assistance is provided by NSFDC for projects costing upto Rs.30.00 lakh to a maximum of 90% of project cost is channelised throuhg SCDC.  Promoters contribution above Rs.1.00 lakh and upto Rs.30.00 lakhs is in the range of 2-5% of the project cost.

iv)                 SCDC also channelise Bridge Loan assistance under NSFDC Scheme for investment subsidy or any other source of funds sanctioned by any recognized agencies for project costing upt Rs.30 lakhs.

v)                  SCDC provides Seed Capital Assitance under NSFDC Scheme to bridge the gap in the equity required as per normal Debt Equity ratio norms of term lending institution, subject to maximum of 80% of such equity requried or Rs.10.00 lakhs per unit/profit centre, whichever is less.

vi)                 On specific requrest Working Capital Loan subject to maximum 70% of total working capital requriement or Rs.7.00 lakhs whichever is less, per unit is also considered under Scheme of NSFDC.

vii)               Grant of Skill and Enterpreneurial Developemnt Programmes to cover upto 85% of recurring expenditure is also provided under NSFDC Schemes.

10,65,510 Scheduled Castes  beneficiaries have been assisted during the last three years of the 9th Plan period (Detials at Annexure - IX).

119.     The Committee have also  been informed that NSFDC along with help of the State Scheduled Castes  Development Corporations is taking steps for helping the SC beneficiareis particularly those living below double the proverty line.  Following steps  have been taken for improving the performance further.

(i)                  Appoint additional Channelising Agencies of NSFDC in order to widen the coverage of beneficiaries.

(ii)                Micro Credit Programmes has been started for funding Self Help Groups (SHGs) for providing small group loans based on felt needs of the target groups with help of reputed Non-Government Organisations.

(iii)               State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) are being pursued for utilising the amount in time and assisting the beneficiaries in a better manner.

 

120.     The Committee note that Scheduled Castes  living below the poverty line, are provided assistance by the State Scheduled Castes  Development Corporations.  Besides, Scheduled Castes  families living below double the poverty line are also assisted by National SC/ST Finance and Development Corporation.  The number of SC beneficiareis likely to be assisted during the last three years of the 9th Plan period is 10,65,510.  This figure can hardly be considered as satisfactroy considering the total number of Scheduled Castes  in the country.  The Committee are also constrained to note that the performance of State SCDCs and NSFDCs has not been satisfactory in respect of beneficiaries covered during the 1999-2000.  There is steady decline.  The number of beneficiaries have decreased from 570680 during 1998-1999 to 113849 during 1999-2000.   The number of beneficiaries covered during the year 1999-2000 is indicative of treatment being met out to SC people approaching to these corporations for loans.  The Committee desire that the reasons for this highly unsatisfactory position and poor disbursement of funds should be gone into thoroughly and immediate remedial measure should be taken to stremline the procedure to ensure that the SC/ST beneficiaries throughout the country get the benefits of setting up of the corporation for their economic development.  There should be one window service scheme so that the needy SC/ST  are not required to run from pillar to post to get the required assistance.

121.     The Committee also find that the schemes sanctioned by the corporation cover agriculture, and allied activities, minor irrigation, transport and trade and service sector etc.  They are of the view that there is need for further diversification and a large number of economically viable schemes covering a wide range of activities which have high relevance and potential for economic development having low gestation period and requiring moderate capital investment should be identified and assisted by the Corporation.

 

122.     The Committee feel that Development Corporations can play a very important role in supplementing the national effort of raising the economic status of Scheduled Castes  and ST and in helping to take them above the poverty live.  The Committee are firmly of the opinion that earnest and sincere efforts should be made to make these corporations function properly and in consonance with the objectives underlying their estabishemnt.  The Committee note in this connection step have been taken by NSFDC/SCDCs for improving the performance further.  They hope that these steps will be implemented in letter and spirit so that these corporations functions effectively and become economically viable units.

123.     The Committee urge that criterion for the grant of loans should be made more flexible so that no SC/ST , who is in need of finance is debarred from securing money from these corporations.

O.        Implementation, monitoring & evaluations.

124.     The Committee have been informed that implementation of Schemes meant for the development of Scheduled Castes  is monitored by the following methods:

i)                    In review meeting with the representatives of the State Governments/UT Admn.

ii)                   During the visit of the officers of this Ministry to different States/UTs.

iii)                 While considering the release of matching Central Assistance; and

iv)                 At the time of preparation of Annual Plan of the Schemes.

125.     It is also stated that the Monitoring Cell of Scheduled Castes  Development Division of the Ministry is entrusted with the work connected with the evaluation of the schemes implemented by the Ministry for the development of Scheduled Castes.  This Cell is headed by a Director assisted by one Assistant Director, one Senior Investigator, one investigator, one UDC and one LDC.  The post of Investigator is lying vacant at present.  The Assistant Director of this Cell belongs to Scheduled Castes  community.  In so far as Scheduled Tribes are concerned, according to information collected from various Ministries/Departments some time back, the 19 Ministries/Departments have set up cells to monitor Tribal Sub Plan.

126.     The Committee have been informed that the performance of all the schemes is reviewed thoroughly.  Keeping in view the committed liability and requirement of funds for ongoing programmes and provisions for new schemes to address the emerging problems, recommendations are made and proposals modified accordingly.   The Tripartite Committee consisting of the representatives of the Planning Commission, the concerned Ministry/Department and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has instituted special research studies to assess the impact of the various schemes/prgorammes.  51 studies were conducted in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 with this primary objective in mind.  As  a result of the reviews, Ministry has prepared proposals for the amendment of the following schemes which were common for both SCs and STs.

i)          Up-gradation of merit of SCs/STs

ii)                   Post Matric Scholarship for SCs/STs

iii)                 National Overseas Scholarship for SCs/STs

iv)                 Coaching and Allied Scheme for SCs/STs.

v)                  Boys/Girls Hostel.

127.     The implementation of the scheme is also reviewed by the Ministry and the Planning Commission while finalizing Annual Plan proposals.

128.     It is also stated that the State Governments/UT Administrations are required to send periodical reports/returns on the implementation of Welfare Schemes for which Central Assistance is being given as also Utilisation Certificates.  In case of delay, or non-receipt of such reports/returns, the matter is taken up with the State Governments/UT Administrations for rectifying the deficiency.

129.     The Committee have been informed that State Government have been requested to ensure follow-up of the progress of the projects taken up by the beneficiaries to ascertain whether they have acquired necessary assets and such assets are being utilised properly for income generating activities from the funds provided under the scheme of Special Central Assistance to State Governments.

130.     It is further stated that the the proper utilization of the SCA funds is monitorned by the Ministry on regular basis.  State-wise reviews of 24 States/UTs which implement SCP programme was last done by the Ministry during November-December, 2000.  During the review meetings, the States/UTs have been advised to take steps for dovetailing SCA with funds provided by the Corporations on project specific basis.  The States/UTs have also been requested to take up close monitoring by using 3% of SCA fund as provided under the guidelines.

131.     It has been stated that the senior officers of the Ministry also keep visiting the state to monitor the progress. When the Committee desired to know what were the findings of such visits and main bottlenecks noticed in implementation of programme during last 3 years for SCs and STs the Committee have been informed by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment that Officers of the Ministry visit the State and UTs on regular basis.  Findings of the Officers during field visits are taken up with the States for appropriate action.  Problems noticed in implementation of programmes are considered while revising the scheme.

132.     In this regard M/o Tribal Affairs also informed that some of the projects being run by the NGOs were not found satisfactory.  The grants of such NGOs has been stopped and State Government have been requested to recover the grant. Some NGOs were found non-existent also and these NGOs have been black listed in addition to initiating a criminal proceedings against them.  All the State Government and District Authorities have been requested to keep an eye on the NGOs and monitor the projects being run by the NGOs.  They further stated that some of the State could not avail the benefit of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Boys/Girls Hostels and Ashram Schools due to non-availability of matching share.  Some States could not construct the building of hostels/schools in time due to some geographical and administrative reasons.

133.     Asked whether there is any direct agency of the Government of India to oversee the implementation of the programmes in the States it has been stated that the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment coordinates implementation of the schemes relating to Welfare of SCs and regarding to welfare of STs.  The projects of NGOs are monitored through the State Governments and District Collectors.

134.     The Committee have been informed that to monitor the implementation of schemes meant for the development of Scheduled Castes  a mechanism has been devised whereby agencies other than the State Government carryout inspection of voluntary organisations to ensure utilisation of funds and implementation of the projects for which the grants were sanctioned.

135.     The Committee asked whether the Inspection carried out by these organisations for monitoring and implementation of schemes meant for SCs/STs are given precedence over the machinery of the Government.  In this regard the Ministry was silent.

136.     From the “Evaluation Report on Integrated Tribal developkment projects” submitted by the Planning Commission it has been observed that though in all the States the administrative arrangements exist as per central guidelines.  Yet the system of decentralised planning, implementation and monitoring as envisaged in the guidelines, is not operational in most of the States.

137.     When asked why the system of decentralised planning, implementation and monitoring as envisaged in the guidelines, is not operational in most of the states, and what remedial measures have been taken by the Central Government in this regard, the Committee have been informed that with reference to evaluation report on Integrated Tribal Development Projects conducted by the programme evaluation organization of Planning Commission had given various recommendations regarding the decentralized planning, implementation and monitoring of the programmes and other related issues.  The observations of the report have been brought to the notice of the State Governments both by the Planning Commission and TD Division of erstwhile Ministry of Scoial Justice & Empowerment in the 4th Report of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the observations of the findings of the Report of the PAO has been incorporated.  This Report has already been presented to the President of India and Report has been laid in both the Houses of Parliament.  Efforts have been made to improve the functioning of ITDP in the States in regard to the decentralised planning, and delivery system of programmes, administrative structure in tribal areas, monitoring and evaluation of the programme in the tribal areas etc.  The manner of utilization of SCAs has also been discueed in the various meeting convened by this Ministry with the State level Officers.  Effrots are being made to overcome the shortfalls while implementing in tribal areas.

138.     The follow up of the evaluation report on ITDP Projects prepared by the Programme Evaluation Organistion (PEO) of Planning Commission is being taken up by them.

139.     The Committee are disturbed to note that many States/UTs do not provide utliisation certificates in time.  They feel that the delay in releasing the State share and reporting of utlisation to the Department ultimately delay releasing of subsequent instalment by the Central Government which in the other way effects the implementation of the scheme.  They would like to recommend that the Centre should take up these issues with the State Governments/UT Admins and come with some corrective measures for the better implementation of the schemes.  It is also recommended that there should be some full-proof mechanism to verify the matching contribution by each of the State Goverments/UTs.  The guidelines in this regard should be suitably modified.

140.     It is needless to stress here that dissemination of information is a major factor for the better implementation of schemes meant for upliftment of the poorer of poor which are usually the illiterate strata of society.  They would like to recommend that some percentage say 2% of the funds specifically be earmarked for the publicity of the respective scheme/programme and it is to be further  ensured that such amount is spent only for the purpose it has been earmarked.

141.     The Committee note that the performances of all the schemes is reviewed.  Keeping in view the liability and requirement of funds for ongoing programmes and provisions for new schemes to address the emerging problems, recommendations are made and modified accordingly.  The Committee  recommend that the Ministry should carry out thorough evaluation of each of the schemes at the earliest.  They also urge to carry out evaluation/review of each of the scheme being implemented by them preferably at the end of each five year plan so that they would have a fairly accurate idea of the current status of achievements and the shortfalls before the beginning of the subsequent five year plans.

142.     The Committee note that the programmes evaluation organisation, Planning Commission had suggested some recommendations in its “Evaluation Report on Integrated Tribal Development Project”.  They feel that the existing systems of funding by central sector has resulted in misutilisation and diversion of funds meant for the poorest strata of the society.  Though the Committee are not averse to the idea of further decentralization but they would like that while giving greater freedom and flexibility to the State Governments necessary mechanism for proper utilization of such funds meant for the poorest section of the society should be initiated.  Further it should be ensured that funds,  earmarked for the respective development schemes for SCs/STs must not be diverted for other purposes under any circumstances.

143.     They would therefore, strongly recommend that the Government should make all out efforts to ensure that the outlay earmarked for the respective scheme/programme in a particular year are used only for the specific programme/scheme for which the allocation is made and the chances of having unspend outlay are minimised.  The Government should gear up and stgreamline the existing implementing machinery at the field level so as to ensure 100% utilisation of available funds.  They also recommend, the guidelines of the schemes should be revised to give a room for proper monitoring and strengthening of reporting.

144.     The Committee understand the availability of adequate infrastructure at the implementation level is a pre-requisite for the better utilisation of funds.  The Committee note that they presume that the available infrastructure at the District/Panchyat/implementation level is adequate and does not verify the claims of the implementing agencies about the availability and functioning of the infrastructure.  In view of the above the Committee recommend that they should authorise and tone up its existing monitoring machanism to verify the claims of the implementing agencies on the availability of infrastructure.

145.     The Committee further note that from time to time senior officers of the Ministry keep visiting the States/UTs to monitor the progress.  The Committee are unhappy to note that findings of the officers regarding the bottlenecks noticed during field visits have not been provided to the Committee and it is stated that problems noticed in implementation of programme are considered while revising the scheme and taken up with the states for appropriate action.  The Committee are not satisfied with the reply of the Ministry and take a serious note of this casual approach.  They should provide detailed and complete reply to the Committee for thorough and analytical study of the problems and suggest effective measures to remove the deficiencies noticed.

146.     The Committee note that to monitor the implementation of schemes meant for development of Scheduled Castes /Scheduled Tribes a machanism has been devised whereby agencies other than the State Government carryout inspection of voluntary organisations to ensure utilisation of funds and implementation of the projects for which the grants were sanctioned.  But nothing has been replied regarding the inspection carried out by these organisation and whether precedence are given to these inspection over the machinery of the Government.  The Committee have taken a serious note of such attitude and would like to be apprised of the results achieved as a result of the inspection carried out by these voluntary organisations to monitor the implementation of schemes meant for the development of SCs/STs.

P.         Utilisation of Funds.

147.     Scheme wise (for SCs and STs) statement shows that actual expenditure during the 8th Plan and last three years of 9th Plan under the different schemes for SCs and STs is less than the Budget estimates.(Annexure).

148.     When asked about the reasons for less utilisation of funds against the Budget estimates the Committee have been informed that actual expenditure under various schemes implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment during the 8th Five Year Plan and outlay for the 9th Plan indicate that there has been a substantial increase in welfare programme for SCs.  While the expenditure increased by 64.92% in the five years of the 8th Plan, in the first three years of the 9th Plan alone, the percentage increase in expenditure is 34.87% in terms of allocation (BE) while in the first year, the allocation was 405.98 crore, it is increased to RS.691.18 crore during 1996-97 registering a 70.25% growth.  Similarly, while BE was 771.00 crore in 1997-98, it increased to Rs.808.50 crore in 1999-2000. Again while in the year 1999-2000 the BE was Rs.808.50 crore, the expenditure was Rs. 823.07 croreover the BE. Despite this level of expenditure the schemes and programmes are being constantly monitored by the Ministry Officer on tour to the various States review the programmes with the concerned State/UT Secretaries are also held to review and increase the attention for implementation of these programmes.

149.     In this regard M/o Tribal Affairs informed that the amount could not be fully released under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme because the State Government has to provide 50% matching share for construction of boys/girls hostels and Ashram Schools.  Further, it take some time in the construction of building.  Therefore, some States have not utilized the previous grant fully and further grant could not be released.  The amount under Central Sector Scheme could not be released due to non-receipt of the inspection report form the State Government in time.  Further, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs also took a decision to the effect that an inspection report from the concerned Distt.  Collector  may also be obtained before the release of any further grant to ensure the proper monitoring of the grant utilized.  This process also somewhat retarded the process and affected the release of grant.  But it was necessary to do so in order to avoid the fraudulent releases.  They also informed that the less utilization has not affected the ongoing projects or the genuine new projects.

150.     The Committee have further been informed that despite a reduction in the percentage of population living below the poverty line, the incidence of poverty amongst Scheduled Castes  and Scheduled Tribes continues to be very high as compared to the general population.  Majority of them are landless with no productive assets.  They are also devoid of sustainable employment.  In order to address these issues effectively, the interventions by the Government both at the Centre and States for these groups should have more focused attention.  The programmes and schemes both for Scheduled Castes  and Scheduled Tribes should aim at qualitative improvement and not merely the quantitative coverage of the target groups.

151.     Asked whether any new programme and schemes have been undertaken to get qualitative benefits for these groups and the reasons for less achievement in this regards, it has been stated in a note furnish to this Committee that the Ministry of Rural Development is implementing a number of schemes for assisting families living below poverty line in the rural areas including the SCs.  Similarly the Ministry of Urban Development is implementing schemes for the urban poor including the SCs.  The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is providing SCA to the States/UTs which is utilized for assisting Scheduled Castes  families living below the poverty line.  Socio-economic development of the families living below poverty line including the SCs, is a complex phenomenon and several factors are responsible for the same.  The Government has been taking a number of steps of expediting poverty alleviation among the poor including the SCs.

152.     Ministry of Tribal Affairs also stated that in order to curb the menace of poverty, various Central and Centrally sponsored schemes are being implemented through State Governments/UT Administrations and Non-Governmental Organisations by this Ministry.  In addition to these schemes, State and Central Ministries are also implementing various sectoral programmes out of their own resources. During the year 1998-99, a new Central Sector Scheme for Development of Primitive Tribal Group was introduced by this Ministry.

The allocation and expenditure for PTG scheme is as follows:

 

Year                             Allocation                     Expenditure

 

1998-1999                   Rs.5.00 crore   Rs.4.94 crore

1999-2000                   Rs.10.00 crore Rs. 6.63 crore

157.     Regarding areas identified in the Eighth Five Year Plan which require special and urgent attention during the 9th Plan with regard to empowerment of Scheduled Castes  and Scheduled Tribes as the agents of social change for development, It has been stated that SCs and STs constitute an important segment of the Indian society and it has been the conscious efforts of the planners for empowering them adequately so that they can play a leading role in the economic development of the country.

153.     When asked whether the Government would be able to achieve the targets with the fund allocated for the schemes for SCs/STs in 9th Five Year as compared to percentage of SCs/STs population, it has been stated that the amount provided under various schemes for welfare of SCs and STs have been utilized by and large.  In respect of some schemes like Post Matric Scholarship, the budgeted provision has been exceeded; where in some cases there have been shortfall.  Necessary corrective steps have been initiated for improving the position further.

154.     In this regard Ministry of Tribal Affairs also informed that the targets under various schemes are fixed keeping in view the allocation made by the Planning Commission for the 9th Plan, as also the Annual Plans.  Hence, no major shortfall is expected in achieving the targets fixed.

155.     However, under the scheme of grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, it was decided to open 100 Residential Schools in various States for Scheduled Tribes students for Class VI to XII during the 9th Five Year Plan period, to impart quality education to the students.  However, in this case, only 50% of the target is expected to be achieved, as the States have been slow in implementing the project.

156.     The Committee are concerned to note that the actual expenditure during the 8th Plan and last three years of 9th Plan under the different Schemes for SCs and STs is less than the Budget estimates.  The Committee are not convinced with the reply of the Government that Budget estimate is increased as compared to 8th Five Year Plan.  The Committee feel that the non-satisfactory performance of Plan schemes has compelled the Government to scale down the outlay at the RE stage by a sizeable amount adversely affecting the execution of several schemes aimed at SCs/STs development.  They, therefore, are critical of the unsatisfactory performance of the Government in fully utilising the outlays and recommend that in future the outlay meant for different schemes for SCs/STs be fully spend by stepping up the efficiency levels.

157.     The Committee are unhappy to note that way the Government has washed their hands on the issue by stating that the amount under Central Sector Scheme could not be released due to non-receipt of the inspection report from the State Governments in time and some States have not utilised the previous grant fully and further grant could not be released.  The Committee are not in agreement with the Government reply  that the less utilisation has not affected the ongoing projects.  How could it be possible if States/UTs do not receive the Central assistance share in time.  They take serious note of it and strongly recommend that the Government should analyse the position and consider providing an inbuilt mechanizm for the purpose.  Keeping in view the fact that schemes are centrally sponsored, necessary guidelines in this regard should be issued to States/UT Governments and the Committee be apprised accordingly.

158.     The Committee note that despite the percentage of population living below the poverty line, the incidence of poverty amongst Scheduled Castes  and Scheduled Tribes continues to be very high as compared to general population.  In order to curb the menace of poverty, various Central and Centrally sponsored schemes are being implemented through State Governments/UT Adminstration and Non-Governmental organisations by the M/o Social Justice & Empowerment and M/o Tribal Affairs.  State and Central Ministries are also implementing various Sectoral Programmes out of their own resources.  The Committee are of the view that qualitative improvement and not merely the quantitative is important issue in improving the quality of life of SCs and STs.   But the Committee note with concern that the Budget provisions for the schemes related to SCs and STs over the years have not increased commensurate with their social importance and not only inadequate allocation is being made for different schemes/programmes but also whatever budget had been provided even that could not be fully utilized.  At the present rate of achievements, it will take decades for streamlining, strengthening and enriching the socially disadvantaged groups towards this advancement.  Apart from this the Committee also note that socio-econimic development of the SCs/STs is a complex phenomenon and several factors are responsible for the same.  The Committee are of the view that all-out efforts should be made to convince the State Governments about the utility of these schemes in developing the socio-economic conditions of SCs/STs.  They are not convinced with the argument of the Ministry that no major shortfall is expected in achieving the target fixed.  The Committee suggest that budget allocation for the schemes relating to SCs/STs should be enhanced suitably so that better physical targets be achieved.  The Government should also ensure proper and fully utilisation of funds allocated for those schemes.

159.     The Committee note that the Government of India interacts with the State Governments/UT Administrations from time to time for an overview and take remedial action on the deficiencies obscrued for proper implementation of the schemes and also that the benefits reach the target groups effectively.  These deficiencies relates to implementation of the scheme and inadequacy of the assistance given in certain cases.  The Committee are of the view that all out efforts should be made to educate the SCs/STs and raise the level of their awarness about the schemes related to them so that these people can also ask their respective States/UTs to give priority and implement various sectoral programmes for their development.

 

RATILAL KALIDAS VARMA

CHAIRMAN

COMMITTEE ON THE WELFARE OF SCHEDULED CASTES AND SCHEDULED TRIBES

 

                                                                                   

NEW DELHI;                                                        

December,  2001

Agrahayana, 1923(Saka)