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DEEP READ
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When budget promises remain promises on paper
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The Standing Committee reports submitted to the parliament on sScial Justice, eEucation, Women, and Child Welfare testifies to the carelessness of the government in solving the problems of the weaker sections of the population. Both the reports show how the projects worth lakhs of crores of rupees for public welfare and poverty alleviation in budgets are mere propaganda tools that were never intended to be implemented. The recommendations of those committees and the figures they publish are sufficient to understand how the authorities deceive the public. Below are some of the key findings that need no explanation (this column is not enough to write the whole). In the last two years, only 28 per cent (one crore and thirteen lakh) students have benefited from the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme targeting 40 million SC students. 8939.47 crore was spent for them. Effectiveness is doubtful. Out of the Rs 2.5 lakh crore allotted for the welfare of Scheduled Castes during 2017-2021, Rs 50,000 crore was lapsed. It was headed by eight major ministries - including the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Labor and Health. Moreover, Rs 1.33 lakh crore (out of the remaining Rs 2 lakh crore) spent by ten departments of various ministries has not directly benefited the Scheduled Castes. There is no system to maintain the databases of the beneficiaries and the distribution through bank accounts is not able to achieve the expected goals. They prevent the needy beneficiaries from getting the benefits. There is no mechanism for effective monitoring and evaluation of specific schemes for Scheduled Castes.This is evidenced by the fact that out of 194 districts in 18 states, efforts to eradicate manual scavenging is being made only in 49 districts.

The welfare schemes for the upliftment of the Dalits were subverted just as the welfare schemes for the minorities were subverted. Despite allocation being reduced from Rs 5,029 crore to Rs 4,005 crore in the 2020-21 budget, the committee itself was surprised at the carelessness of the Union Ministry of Minorities' implementation and utilization of funds for minority welfare schemes. The report lists a series of deceits and exploitation such as: funds are siphoned off by hacking digital passwords, data are leaked by use of insecure portal and project funds misappropriated, deserving applications are rejected for want of bank accounts, banks deduct money as fine in the name of dormant accounts

The committee headed by BJP member Rama Devi has demanded that the allegations about money going to fake students under these scholarship schemes meant for children belonging to underprivileged minorities in six states, be investigated and that the panel has asked the ministry to plug all identified loopholes in the system and strengthen privacy of data and passwords. There is little chance that the Minority Welfare Commission would take up these recommendations. If they had a modicum of earnestness inn the matter, the Ministry of Minority Affairs would not have suffered from this level of corruption and negligence. The report submitted by the BJP MP Vinay Sahasrubudha-chaired Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports is no different. The benefits of 'Poshan Abhiyaan', 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', 'Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana' are not reaching those in need. Additionally, more than half of the allocated funds is not spent. The Poshan Abhiyaan, which aimed at stopping children's malnutrition, withheld without spending Rs 1,500 crores of the funds they were allocated in 2019-20. The report pokes fun at the government for "saving" 194 crore, without spending it, out of the 280 crore set aside for their much promoted 'Beti Bachao' scheme.

The criminal neglect by several departments and ministries in handling poverty alleviation and other welfare schemes for women, scheduled castes and tribes and other minorities, is a serious lapse for which the government should be held to account. This just proves that the ruling system is a nest of vested interests. There is a deliberate torpedoing of the growth and development of the poor and the marginalised when the funds that are rightfully theirs are made to lapse. All the scarier is the situation that none of the Modi Media - the media subservient to the ruling party and their interests - has taken note of these reports that should otherwise be an important part of the political discourse.

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TAGS:Budget declarations Parliamentary panels find failures declared govt schemes not implemented welfare schemes suffer 
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