Citing lack of “mandate”, NITI Aayog has written to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment expressing its inability to monitor and review the implementation of Tribal Sub-Plan and Schedule Caste Sub-Plan and asked the two ministries to conduct the exercise.
In a letter to Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said the erstwhile Planning Commission had dedicated resources manning the SCSP and TSP units for the purpose and it was mandatory for states or UTs to submit separate sub-plans along with annual plan proposals for approval which provided scope for reviewing the allocation of funds and their performance.
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“However, the concept of 5-year and annual plans and interaction with the Ministries and States in this behalf are no longer the mandate of the NITI Aayog.
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“In view of the above the matter regarding the task of monitoring of both TSP has been reviewed at my level in NITI Aayog. It has been observed that the NITI Aayog would not be in a position to continue to monitor the implementation of TSP in view of reasons stated above,” Panagariya said in the letter.
Panagariya said as Oram’s Ministry is implementing the Central Sector Scheme of Special Central Assistance (SCA) for the TSP and is the nodal ministry at the Central level for the welfare of the scheduled tribes, the task of monitoring and review should be handled by his ministry.
“Funds available under the scheme are in addition to the fund available at the State/UT level for the TSP to fill the critical gaps. Release of funds under the scheme to States/UTs requires prior review of their TSPs, he said.
“As such it would be appropriate that the task of monitoring and review of TSP is handled by your Ministry,” he said.
He cited the monitoring of the Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme for Minorities, which is implemented by various Ministries and Departments but “handled appropriately” by the Ministry of Minority Affairs as an analogy in this regard.
According to a senior official in the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, a similar letter has been received by them from NITI Aayog wherein it has expressed its inability to monitor the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP).
The TSP and SCSP were launched in 1974 and 1979 respectively for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. While six per cent of the plan outlay in the budget is earmarked for TSP, 16 per cent goes to SCSP.
The main features of the strategy included earmarking of plan funds for the sub-plans in proportion to ST and SC population, non-diversion of funds, need for proper and appropriate developmental programmes for STs and SCs and institutional mechanism for effective monitorning, among others.
The Planning Commission used to issue guidelines to the states, UTs, Central Ministries and Departments from time to time and monitor TSP and SCSP.