New guidelines for tribal schemes
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, OCT. 16. The current year's tribal development programmes will be formulated by the people's council of the respective tribal hamlet, known in local parlance as "oorukkoottam'.
There will be district-level committees and a State-level committee to coordinate the implementation of the programmes. The Chief Secretary will be the chairman of the State-level committee.
The Government brought in these reforms through an order issued on Monday, specifying a new set of guidelines for the utilisation of the funds under the Tribal Sub Plan, which had been wrested from the local self-governing institutions.
The district-level committee headed by the Collector is entrusted with the responsibility of examining the projects proposed by the `oorukkoottam' and sanctioning them. The officer in charge of the Integrated Tribal Development Project or the tribal development officer will be the convener of the district committee.
The committee will have as its members the project director in charge of the district panchayat's section dealing with poverty eradication, the assistant development officer (general), the district social welfare officer, the district coordinator of the Kudumbasree project, the district officer in charge of the scheme concerned and the district planning officer.
The Government order says that the district committee will finalise the schemes based on the funds allocated under the Tribal Sub Plan. Schemes charted out by the local self-governing institutions too will be examined by this committee and the good ones will be implemented.
The Collectors have also been asked to evaluate the spillover works of the local bodies. The panchayats will have to complete such schemes using the Tribal Sub Plan funds available with them. The guidelines specifically state that if any tribal scheme charted out by the local bodies could not be commenced for want of funds so far, it should be abandoned. The Collector is empowered to sanction additional funds to the local bodies for running schemes which can be completed before March, 2002. This guideline is applicable for partially implemented housing schemes also.
The Government also stipulates that the funds allocated under the revised budget for the current year for the programmes of the local bodies should be utilised for the same programmes and not diverted for taking up any other works.
Before the spillover works of the previous year or new schemes are taken up, the topic should be placed before the `oorukkoottam' of the area for its acceptance. If the tribal population at the ward level is more than 50, the `oorukkoottam' is to be convened at that level. If not, it can be convened at the panchayat/municipal level. The convener of such an `oorukkoottam' will be a person selected by the tribal extension officer or the Collector.
All tribal families in the locality and also the ward's elected member should be informed about the `oorukkoottam' in advance so that there would be good participation of the beneficiaries. The meeting should prioritise the schemes to be taken up and the decisions should be announced before the people assembled. The decisions taken at the meeting should be drawn up into a document which should be signed by all those who had attended the meeting.
The guidelines also specify the steps to be adopted by the conveners to ensure transparency in the selection of beneficiaries as well as in the implementation of the programmes.