Left Front: Progressive about backwards
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Kolkata: How serious is the Left Front government for the uplift of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes as well as other backward caste people in the state? Various reports placed before the state assembly during its recently concluded budget session only revealed the dismal performance of the state in this field. The first two communities constitute 29 per cent of the population of the state while there are around 60 OBC groups.
The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India revealed that the Central allocations for different welfare projects involving SC and ST communities were kept in banks, but jugglery of accounting was done to claim that the proper spending of the fund had already taken place.
According to the the latest CAG report on West Bengal, Rs 105.37 crore was parked in the deposit account of the West Bengal SC/ST development and finance corporation. In addition, scheme funds of Rs 117.29 crore were retained in short term deposits with the banks. The total amount of Rs 222.26 crore were shown as spent against the budgetary allocation but actually kept hidden to the legislative scrutiny.
The last report of the Public Accounts Committee of the assembly also noted the misuse of funds by the backward classes welfare department. As an instance, it mentioned expenditure of Rs 12 lakh for building a ST girls hostel in Birbhum without even bothering for a feasiblity study.
On the other hand, Labour in West Bengal, the state labour department's annual report, mentioned that only one of the ST and nine SC candidates have got jobs through the ST/SC cell under the directorate of employment last year. These 10 fortunates were the members of the 48,930 strong army of the unemployed and educated ST/SC youth registered in the 'live register' of the cell. Among them, 18,854 were Tribals.
According to the register, the total numbers of the SC and ST unemployed youth of the state are 6,91556 and 11,973 respectively while the number of the OBC job-seekers are 1,04641. However, placements were possible for only 2191 and 707 and 715 respectively. The disbursement of funds for the state sponsored and sanctioned self -employment schemes for these people has come down drastically during last five years.
While the state employment exchanges failed to find jobs for these weaker sections, the state public Service Commission's latest report noted dearth of eligible candidates from these communities. The situation has become so paradoxical that the state government has changed the rule to dereserve government jobs to fulfil the pressing need for personnel. According to the commission, while 365 vacancies were reported for union government jobs in the state for the SC candidates in 1996-97, the corresponding number for the ST and OBC were 86 and 45. However, 106 seats were left vacant due to the paucity of the 'qualified' SC candidates while the similar was done in case of 12 ST and 32 OBC vacancies. Similarly, at least 90 vacancies in the state government jobs could not be fulfilled due to the same problem. Of these post, 59 were teachers' jobs in schools and colleges.While departmental minister Upen Kisku said that the district magistrates were being empowered to dereserve the SC/ST quotas, he kept mum on how to solve the paradox