Fully utilise central schemes: Wasnik to NE states

Shillong: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik today made a clarion call for north-eastern states to fully utilise all central schemes under the ministry for the welfare of the deprived section of people in the region.

The Union Minister expressed concern at the poor implementation of Central funds meant for the uplift of the deprived lot in the society here which are made available under the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry.

Stating that the average expenditure of the ministry is between 97-99 per cent, Wasnik said the expenditure in the north east hovers a little over 50 per cent which he said the states here have to "address urgently."

"Expenditure in the north east during 08-09 was 58.44 per cent, during 09-10 it was 74.12 per cent, in 10-11 the expenditure was only 42.88 per cent while during 11-12 fiscal year the expenditure was only 55 per cent," Wasnik said.

"The figures are disturbing and indicates that we have to pull ourselves up and ensure that all the shortcomings are addressed and the gaps are plugged," he said. Wasnik was addressing a one-day conference of state ministers for Welfare/Social Justice department of all north eastern states, including Sikkim.

Citing examples of how fund allocation was not utilised in the manner it should be, Wasnik quoted the utilisation of funds for providing aides and appliances for persons with disabilities. "Out of an allocation of Rs 8 crore in 07-08, only Rs 1.73 crore was spent. In 08-09, out of an allocation of Rs 10 crore only Rs 6.02 crore was utilised. During 09-10 period, Rs 5.52 crore was spent out of the Rs 10 cr allocation. The worse was during 10-11 in which out of the Rs 9.5 crore allocation, only Rs 2.6 crore was utilised," Wasnik said.

On the issuance of certificates to the disabled persons, Wasnik urged state governments to keep up with the rest of the country. The Union Minister specially urged the state governments of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and other NE states to take stock of the situation and issue the certificates to the deserving persons at the earliest.

Nagaland has issued certificates to only 5.78 per cent of the total population of the disabled people while Arunachal Pradesh has issued 5.99 per cent only.