The state governments ambitious project to open special Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) for Scheduled Caste category students has turned out to be a non-starter. Though grants to the tune of Rs 5 crore have been sanctioned on paper,majority of institutes are yet to start operating.
During the recent audit of the office of the commissioner of social welfare,the Auditor General (AG) of Maharashtra made a few adverse remarks about the project.
The audit report,a copy of which has been procured by Newsline under the Right to Information (RTI) Act,2005,states though six years have passed since the scheme was announced,the courses in the institutes are yet to take off. It states the state government had issued a government resolution in 2006 announcing the setting up of special ITIs. The institutes offering 12 courses were to come up in Pune,Mumbai,Nashik,Aurangabad,Amravati and Nagpur. They were to have 80 per cent seats reserved for Scheduled Caste category students and 20 per cent for students from economically weaker sections of society.
The government had sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the construction of buildings for the institutes and outlined staff pattern of 32 posts for each ITI,read the report.
The main aim of the scheme was to increase the level of vocational training among the community,which still sees agricultural labour as one of its main employment generation sectors. According to the 11th Planning Commission report,46 per cent of the community is engaged in the sector.
However,the AG noted lacunae in the implementation of the project. To start with,of the six ITIs three in Mumbai,Pune and Amravati were not approved by the government. The directorate of vocational education and training was to put in place the staff in these institutes. However,as the process was not completed,the courses could not be started.
The directorate of social welfare in Pune was asked to seek approval of the courses from National Board of Vocational Education (NBVE),New Delhi,but the audit report noted that it was not done and the scheme failed to
Convenor for Protection of Reservation Dr Sanjay Dabhade blamed apathy on part of the administration. Reservation for Scheduled Caste category student is important as it would have helped in the overall development of the community. However,the failure of the scheme shows the lackadaisical appoach of the commissionerate, he said.