A Meeting was held on 25.10.2017 in NITI Aayog, under the Chairmanship of Shri Ratan P. Watal, Principal Adviser (Social Sector) to discuss about the New Arrangement for earmarking of funds for SCs and STs.
Principal Adviser emphasized in the meeting that the practice of notional earmarking of funds for SCs and STs has to discontinue. Ministries/Departments which do not have any schemes under which funds can be earmarked for SCs and STs may consider designing schemes that directly benefit SCs and STs. Monitoring of expenditure, output and outcome should be against actual earmarking.
Many valuable suggestions were made by the participants in the meeting. Others having issues regarding earmarking were requested to furnish their suggestions/comments separately so that the same could be considered while finalizing recommendations for earmarking of funds for SCs and STs.
The need for a new arrangement for earmarking of funds for SCs and STs has arisen in view of discontinuation of the system of planning and merger of plan and non-plan expenditure w.e.f. 2017-18.
So far funds are earmarked for SCs and STs under the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) as per the guidelines of the Task Force constituted by the erstwhile Planning Commission. The Task Force had recommended for differential earmarking of funds i.e. different rates for identified Ministries / Departments for the Sub-Plans under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and Central Sector (CS) Schemes implemented by each.
Promoting socio-economic interest of SCs and STs is a constitutional mandate. Therefore in view of change in system of budgeting, NITI Aayog had to look for a new arrangement for allocation, so that funds are provided adequately for inclusive development of these vulnerable communities.
With the objective of improving and upgrading the guidelines the matter was discussed widely with all stakeholders including Samavesh Forum of NITI Aayog. The meeting held today under the Chairmanship of Shri Ratan P. Watal with the Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments and National Commissions for SCs and STs was to carry forward the process of consultation.