Rs 1000 scheme: Is Tamil Nadu dipping into funds meant for Dalits?

The notice was issued based on a complaint filed by Anbuvendam, state general secretary, Republican Party of India.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

CHENNAI: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has sought a reply from the state government for allegedly diverting funds from Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) to implement the Rs 7,000-crore Kalaignar Mahalir Urimai Thogai Thittam slated to be rolled out on September 15.

According to a GO issued by Darez Ahmed, secretary of, Special Initiatives Department, Rs 7,000 crore was earmarked for the scheme for 2023-24, and the expenditure shall be met from the funds allocated under the special component plan for Scheduled Castes and women’s welfare in the budget estimates of 2023-24.

NCSC director S Ravivarman, in his notice dated July 27, has ordered the state to file a report within 15 days. Officials of the Tamil Nadu Commission for Scheduled Castes and other departments concerned could not be reached for their comments.

The notice was issued based on a complaint filed by Anbuvendam, state general secretary, of the Republican Party of India. Ironically, in the last budget session, the state government had said new legislation would be introduced for the proper implementation of SC-ST sub-plans.

Of the annual state plan allocation of Rs 77,930.30 crore for 2023-2024, Rs 17,075.70 crore was earmarked for Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (21.91%) and Rs 1,595.89 crore (2.05%) for Tribal Sub-Plan.The Special Component Plan (SCP) was introduced in 1979 for the welfare and development of SCs along the lines of the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) for Scheduled Tribes.

The SCP was envisaged to help poor SC families through composite income generation, welfare and developmental schemes for overall development and to bridge the gap in the socio-economic condition of SCs. The Special Component Plan (SCP) was renamed as Scheduled Caste Sub Plan in April 2006.

Anbuvendan has alleged that the diversion of funds is happening when Adi-Dravidar schools are lacking in basic infrastructure, and Dalit villages don’t have crematoria or roads. “This act of the state government is against the guidelines, rules and regulations of the Centre. The sub-plan fund is exclusively meant for the welfare of SCs and STs. It has been emphasised that schematic funds should neither be diverted for other purposes nor be wasted in any other manner and it has to be strictly monitored to ensure that funds are utilised for the purpose they are meant for,” Anbuvendan said.

Former IAS officer R Christodas Gandhi called it a misappropriation of SC money. “It is not the first time this is happening. Since 2000, SC members have been demanding the fund be utilised for the community’s welfare but officials have been turning a blind eye. It is an offence and not a financial impropriety,” he said.

While Dalit activists said they will approach the court against the government’s decision to divert SCSP funds, former Madras Institute of Development Studies professor Prof C Lakshmanan said, “It is a betrayal of Dalits by the DMK government as they promised to bring in a law last year to ensure allocation of funds.”

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