The state government has not spent over Rs 6500 crore funds allotted for scheduled castes for 2014-15.
Documents obtained by The Daily Observer via a Right to Information request revealed that various government departments- until February - haven’t spent 56.5 percent of Rs 11,518.99 crores allocated for the so called lower castes. “This is not a surprise,” said Beena J Pallickal, a member of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, Delhi, an umbrella organization of various dalit organizations.
“It happens not only in Karnataka but everywhere else. This shows the importance government gives to dalits,” she added. The Social and Welfare Department of Karnataka (SWD) is the nodal agency for monitoring the funds spent by various departments of the state. The RTI reveals that 19 out of the 33 departments haven’t submitted expenditure reports to SWD.
Arun Furtado, Deputy Secretary, SWD, said: “It is like that, we have to call them 100 times to get a report from them. It’s always the same thing.” According to a new bill passed by Karnataka in 2014, the state government had to form a committee headed by the Chief Minister for the planning and allocation of funds. Even though the state budget was presented in February last year, the committee headed by the CM decided on the projects only in October. This delay is cited as one of the main reasons for the huge sum of money remaining unspent. “Since it is the first time, there are some hiccups. This year there won’t be so many problems. The fact that funds can be transferred to the year following the immediate year would have made them (departments) lazy,” Arun added.
Some departments which have spent a meager part of the funds allotted to them are: Youth Services - 5.21%, Public Works - 7.07%, Labor - 16.32% and Horticulture - 17.63%. Many schemes which come under these departments like Child Labour Rehabilitation, Insurance schemes, training programmes for SC/ST, Assistance to state poultry farmers etc will suffer due to the under spending. There were already allegations by various organizations that the government had siphoned about 50% of the funds in the 14-15 budget to general projects like building courts etc.
Source - The observer - By Nikhil Babu
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