Spending on SC/ST welfare fails to reach even halfway mark

The Social Welfare Department, which receives the largest share in the budgetary allocation, has not seen expenditure of even 50% of the allocated sum in the first nine months of the financial year 2020-21. The expenditure on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes welfare, by various departments routed through Social Welfare, has been 47.5% so far.

Of the total allocation to the SC special programme of ₹17,863.16 crore, the expenditure by the end of December was ₹8,431.59 crore (about 47%). With respect to Tribal Sub Plan, ₹3,722.49 crore was spent of the total allocation of ₹8,267.30 crore (about 48%). Owing to COVID-19, the State had reduced the total allocation by about 7.5%, from ₹27,699.52 crore to ₹25,616.83 crore. Of the total allocation, the department has an allocation of ₹3,106 crore, down from the original allocation of ₹3,988 crore. The rest of the amount is distributed to 36 departments, which would in turn take up welfare works for SCs/STs. While the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and Minor Irrigation Department have spent 68% and 70% respectively, the Social Welfare Department has been able to spend only 43.63%.

A senior official, who attended a review meeting by Social Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu last week, said the Minister had been upset with the “poor expenditure” even as the fiscal year was coming to an end. About 70% of the expenditure is completed by December, and COVID-19 impacted this, the official said. The Minister was upset with officials when they pointed out certain expenditure have been shown as made under the “deemed expenditure”. He said he would not approve such expenditure.

No funds to four corporations

In the last quarter of this financial year, the Finance Department has not release funds to four development corporations under the Social Welfare Department despite ₹148 crore allocation made to them.

The Social Welfare Department allocated ₹58 crore to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation, ₹15 crore to Dr. Babu Jagjivanram Leather Industries Development Corporation, ₹30 crore to Bhovi Development Corporation, and ₹45 crore to Adi Jambava Development Corporation, but funds have not been made available to these corporations by the Finance Department yet.

However, two other corporations, Karnataka Tanda Development Corporation has spent ₹12.5 crore of the ₹25 crore allocation and Rajiv Gandhi Housing Corporation has spent ₹100 crore of the ₹200 crore allocation this year.

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