Repeated claims of the state government of having uplifted the Scheduled Castes have been beaten hollow by the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2007-08.
It states that of the 3.18 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families of the SC community in the state,the Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation provided financial assistance of Rs 22.51 crore to barely 23,000 BPL families in a period of five years (2003-08). This implies that only 7.23 per cent of the total BPL families got the benefit.
Also,against the targeted disbursement of Rs 196.43 crore to 1.11 lakh individual beneficiaries,the corporation could only distribute Rs 37.18 crore to 25,576 beneficiaries in the five years.
The report has also indicted the corporation for misuse of loans. The failure of the Corporation to invoke the provisions of loan regulations led to misuse of loan amount by 607 beneficiaries,involving Rs 2.86 crore under the Direct Leading Scheme and National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporations schemes,it reads.
In 1,277 cases,the corporation took 50 days to two years to sanction and disburse the loan,against the norm of 35 days. The overall performance of the corporation with regards to socio-economic uplift of the SCs in the state was poor because the corporation could cover only a small fraction of the targeted population, states the report.
It adds,In majority of the cases,loans disbursed were misutilised due to wrong selection of beneficiaries,delayed disbursement,non-conducting of physical verification of assets created by beneficiaries and/or delay in obtaining utilisation certificates.
Inadequate internal audit,lack of monitoring,poor pursuance and delayed action against defaulters have been listed as reasons for the poor performance.
The state government has recognised 37 castes in the state as SCs and as per the latest Census,the total SC population is 2.44 crore.