HYDERABAD: Here is the big challenge! Spend Rs 7,000 crore in just 46 days. This is not akin to the challenge that Tamil superstar Rajinikanth faced in his blockbuster movie ‘Arunachalam’ released in the late 90s. This is all about the State government’s budget performance with regard to welfare of Scheduled Castes. Though the State government had ambitious plans for the development of SCs and allocated 16.32 per cent of the total Pragathi Paddu (expenditure on welfare schemes) in the 2017-18 budget, the spending is not up to the mark. The total Pragathi Paddu is Rs 88,038.80 crore. Out of which the State allocated Rs 14,375.13 crore for the development of Scheduled Castes under SC Sub-Plan.
The spending of the allotted amount up to end of January was just Rs 6,689 crore, a mere 47 per cent of the total allocations in the first 10 months of the Budget. The government has to spend more than Rs 7,000 crore in the next 46 days, which is next to impossible if one goes by the monthly average spending on SC development of Rs 668 crore.“We have spent Rs 6,689 crore till January end against the total allocation of Rs 14,375.13 crore,” admitted SC development minister G Jagadish Reddy. He said that they had allocated 16.32 per cent funds for SCs in the Pragathi Paddu. “We are implementing 197 major and 219 minor welfare schemes for the development of SCs,” he claimed.
“We have drawn up plans for spending the remaining amount in the next 45 to 50 days,” Jagadish Reddy said. However, analysts wonder how can the government spend around Rs 7,000 crore in 46 days. They say that at least 40 per cent of the funds allocated for the development of SCs would be lapsed this year. However, the minister claimed that Telangana state was a role model in spending for SC welfare in the country.
It may be recalled that the State government modified the SC and ST Sub-Plan Act for better spending of funds this year. In the first year after modifying the Act, the State government allocated huge funds, but failed to spend it as per the plans.The entire data on spending under SC Development Fund was given to all the MLAs and MLCs in the state. The data has village, mandal, district and state level spending details. Though the data was given to legislators two months back, nobody bothered to look into the spending details. Opposition MLAs were no exception.
The same is the case with spendings on the welfare of Scheduled Tribes. The outlay for ST Development Fund is Rs 8,165.87 crore, i.e., 9.27 per cent of the total Pragathi Paddu. Though, innovative schemes have been devised for development of SCs and STs, the actual implementation of schemes like distribution of three-acre land and construction of 2BHK houses has not fully taken place.