Hyderabad, March 14: K.R. Venugopal, former Secretary to the Prime Minister and former Rapporteur to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has blamed the political set-up for diversion of funds allocated to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP).
Speaking at a media workshop on SCSP organised here on Sunday by the Centre for Dalit Studies (CDS) Mr. Venugopal said spending funds allocated to any programme was a matter of political agenda but the parties in power were not in the mindset to do it. The fact that over Rs. 21,000 crore allocated for uplift of Dalits in the State were diverted during the last 19 years clearly indicated the rulers' indifference to the cause.
“Accountability lies with political electives and not the bureaucracy as the former were policymakers and the latter only the dispensation mechanism. Those in power can always take action against erring officials, but the political leaders are running away from their responsibility,” the former civil servant said.
Though the nodal agency had powers to re-appropriate the unspent funds there had been no political will do so all these years, he noted.
He preferred a nodal agency outside the government with research institutions working on Dalits/tribals for better monitoring of the sub-plan.
Further, he suggested the government to take up special five-year plans to spend the diverted/unspent funds on SCSP as they were non-lapsable and non-divertible. Such funds could be spent by preparing habitation-wise plans.
CDS president Y.B. Satyanarayana felt a special Act was necessary for effective implementation of SCSP as all the existing mechanisms proved to be ineffective.
Expenditure on SCSP was just 2.57 per cent of the total allocation of Rs. 7,470 crore during 2008-09, when the nodal agency headed by Chief Minister was set up.
Associate Editor of The Hindu S. Nagesh Kumar, K. Srinivas Reddy (Visalandhra), Ravi Prakash (TV9), Sridhar Babu (HMTV) and senior journalist, Mallepalli Laxmaiah also spoke at the media workshop.