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Panel raps minority affairs
Published on 14 Mar. 2011 12:52 AM IST
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The Ministry of Minority Affairs has been rapped by a parliamentary panel for failing to disburse funds under minority development schemes to several states, including those in the North-East.
The Committee, in its latest report tabled in the current session of Parliament, said it was “dismayed” to find that only Rs 513 crore out of Rs 989.50 crore allocated to the Ministry for Multi-Sectoral Development Programmes in Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) in 2009-10 had been spent.
Again, Rs 1400 crore was allocated for the programmes in 2010-2011, but so far plans for only 13 out of 90 MCDs had been finalised while the financial year was drawing to a close.
The slow pace of progress also dogged the schemes of the National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC). The body finances projects up to Rs 5 lakh through State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) which are given funds with an interest of three per cent for further loaning to the beneficiaries at six per cent.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee related to the Ministry found that under the term loan scheme, no funds were disbursed in states like Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh during the last three years.
Several reasons were given for this. In some states, the SCAs were not operational at all, in some states there were mounting dues, while in others there was absence of state government guarantees.
Non-utilisation of funds released earlier and poor recovery of loans from the beneficiaries were the other reasons.
The committee said it was very unfortunate that due to weak SCAs, many states were not able to avail the benefits under the scheme and there was urgent need for strengthening and capacity building of these agencies.
It told the Ministry that it had already recommended that SCAs should be strengthened and energised both economically and administratively at the grassroot level, and their staff strength should be increased.
However, it has been found that under the grants-in-aid scheme for strengthening SCAs, most of these agencies, except a few, did not come forward with proposals and so funds provided under this scheme lapsed.
Though an SCA had been nominated in Meghalaya, it had not begun to implement any of the schemes of the NMDFC. The committee expressed unhappiness that the Ministry had not taken any concrete steps to sensitise the states about the urgent need for operationalising the SCAs.
It said that besides the Corporation writing to chief ministers on the issues, the Ministry should also vigorously take up the matter with the state governments and impress upon them the imperative need for making these agencies effective so that the schemes benefited the minority population.

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