SC/ST funds unspent, Siddaramaiah, warns government officials

Only a few departments spent more than 60% of allocated funds, finds an angry Siddaramaiah.

Bengaluru: With the budget for next fiscal due for presentation next month, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio, handed a stern warning to officers concerned when he discovered that large sums earmarked for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes remained unspent.

During a meeting of SC/ST Council held here on Wednesday, Mr Siddaramaiah also directed the officials concerned to conduct a survey of roads taken up under the schemes in the wake of complaints of irregularities. The Chief Minister, who went through the figures on expenditure incurred on SCSP and TSP schemes, said by January, all the departments should have spent more than 60 per cent of the funds allocated by the government. Barring five or six departments, however, none had crossed 60 per cent mark.

Though officials tried to explain that planning was delayed, Mr Siddaramaiah was not satisfied and said that he would initiate action against those officers who fail to spend the entire amount announced in the budget by the end of the financial year. Much to his dismay, the department of youth services finished last in receiving allocation (only 0.12 per cent of the allotted Rs 17.13 crores, followed by major irrigation department (5.33 per cent of Rs 1709.99 crores.) While the horticulture department spent only 13.53 per cent of the budgeted allocation of '79.21 crores, agriculture department spent only 31.77 per cent of allocated Rs 278.88 crores.

In TSP scheme, the department of youth services spent only 0.87 per cent of allocated Rs 5.89 crores, while fisheries department spent only 5.95 per cent of Rs 5.89 crores. This is followed by department of major irrigation, which spent only 8.17 per cent of allocated Rs 93 crores, and horticulture department with 15.95 per cent of allocated Rs 33.91 crores.

Later, Mr Siddaramaiah admitted to the media that outflow of funds earmarked for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was below expectation, and that he had instructed the authorities concerned to spend the amount earmarked in the budget before March 31.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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