President sets up Governors' panel Implementation of schemes for SCs
14th August 2000
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 13 - The President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, has constituted a committee of Governors primarily to investigate the implementation of various schemes launched by the Centre and the states for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Two persons having Haryana connections have made it to the committee, which has been asked to give its report by January 31 next.

While the Governor of Maharashtra, Mr P.C. Alexander, will be the Chairman of the committee, the Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, and the UP Governor, Mr Suraj Bhan, who belongs to Ambala district in Haryana, have been nominated members.

The other Governors who are the members of the high-profile committee are Mr M.M. Jacob (Meghalya), Justice S.S Kang (Kerala), Mrs V.S. Rama Devi (Karnataka) and Mr M.M. Rajendran (Orissa).

The decision to constitute the committee was taken at a two-day conference of Governors held in Delhi from July 12 at the initiative of Mr Suraj Bhan.

Mr Suraj Bhan had expressed concern over the plight of Dalits and had asked the President how a Governor, who was bound by the oath of office to uphold the Constitution, could remain silent if the implementation of schemes meant for certain sections, particularly if they were under-privileged, was tardy.

He stunned the conference when he revealed how large-scale irregularities had been detected in the grant of scholarships to SC and ST students in UP. He said the state government awarded scholarships totalling Rs 380 crore every year to these students.

However, a recent verification drive revealed that funds had been sent to non-existent or unrecognised schools or extra money was sent to certain schools. Funds were received in 98 institutions, but were never disbursed. In a comparatively smaller district of Firozabad alone, Rs 2 crore was found to have been misutilised. In Lucknow district Rs 1.22 crore was misutilised. Similar reports were received from certain other districts also.

Based on these reports, the government registered 164 FIRs against the principals or managements concerned. Eight principals were suspended and disciplinary action was taken against 38 other persons. As many as 45 institutions were derecognised.

Mr Suraj Bhan had also highlighted the poor utilisation and allocation of funds for the Special Component Plan (SCP) formulated by the Centre in 1978. He was also upset over the indifferent investigations into cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act.

To take up the task assigned to it by the President in right earnest, the committee has decided to hold its first meeting in Mumbai on September 8 next. The committee is likely to hold its meetings in various regions of the country so that the views of even those Governors who are not its members can be ascertained.

Constituting the committee, Mr Narayanan asked it to evaluate whether the programmes for the welfare of SCs and the STs were being implemented properly in conformity with their broad objectives and to record such observations as might help improve and strengthen the programmes and their implementation with a view to getting better social returns from such investments.

The committee will also examine if the SCP and special Central assistance and tribal sub-plan funds are being efficiently, effectively and fully utilised. It will also identify the areas of slippage and suggest measures to mitigate any distortions in achieving the designated purposes of the schemes.

It will also identify constraints and bottlenecks in the investigation and prosecution of cases under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act, 1989, as well as Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.

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