The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Against 2.98 lakh beneficiaries covered under the Special Central Assistance to the Special Component Plan and the Tribal Sub Plan (family oriented scheme) during 1996-2000, an evaluation of 216 beneficiaries in four districts, conducted by the Cultural Research Institute (a technical wing of the Backward Class Welfare department) revealed that 29 per cent of the schemes were defunct, only 40 per cent beneficiaries could cross the poverty line after implementation of the schemes and 66 per cent beneficiaries were defaulters of bank loans.

Similarly, an evaluation of a National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation credit linked scheme and National Scheme for liberation and rehabilitation of scavengers conducted in six districts (Bardhaman, Birbhum, Hooghly, Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia) indicated that out of the 131 (NSFDC) and 437 (NSS) schemes surveyed, 39 to 60 per cent were defunct and only 12 per cent of the beneficiaries under NSFDC schemes could cross the poverty line after implementation of the schemes, while, in the case of NSS no perceptible changes were noticed in the income level of beneficiaries. Regarding evaluation of education scheme, a study at pre-matric level (classes V to X) in three districts (Birbhum, Nadia and North 24 Parganas) showed (1) poor enrolment pattern of students among the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe comminutes; (ii) wastage at various stages due to huge dropout; (iii) poor educational standards and (iv) low percentage of successful students in the Madhyamik examinations....

As per guidelines issued by the government of India, the state government should strengthen its monitoring mechanism by forming district and state level monitoring committees which would watch the monthly and quarterly progress of implementation, utilization of funds on receipt of feedback from implementing agencies. No such state level monitoring committee had been formed except in the case of NSS. Further in pursuance of government instructions (November 1988), West Bengal Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development and Finance Corporation fixed a target of concurrent evaluation through spot visit of five and two beneficiaries per month by each field organizer and assistant manager/district manager. However no such evaluation was conducted during 1996-2001 in the five districts test-checked.

Further, the department could not furnish any consolidated position of execution of different community development schemes as of September 2001...Apart from compilation of statistical data from the annual reports and returns, the department did not undertake any effective monitoring to assess the actual impact of the scheme and devise methods of better implementation.

Recommendations: for ensuring speedy and effective implementation of the schemes, the department has to review the reasons for the fact that Rs 253.38 crore was lying idle in bank accounts/ cash balances of field formations and deposit accounts in the Calcutta treasury (Pay and Accounts Officer).

The government should closely supervise the implementation of the schemes by WBSCSTDFC and banks and take follow-up action to prevent unnecessary delays in completion of schemes.

District authorities should ensure, in liaison with participating banks, that FO schemes are implemented properly.

Construction work of Central hostels/school buildings, which has been languishing for years, should be completed early to provide benefit to SC/ST students.

Timely submission of plans and estimates by the executing agencies under CD schemes should be ensured to avoid delay in construction, escalation of cost and unnecessary blocking of funds....

National Tuberculosis Control Programme was implemented in the state since 1965 and Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme from 1999. Despite the implementation of the programme, for 36 years sputum positive cases increased. Excess consumption/indiscriminate use of drugs created drug resistance. The programme implementation was marred by non-investigation of all suspects/symptomatic of TB, deficiency in sputum microscopy, shortage of microscopy centres, absence of medicines; diagnostic facilities were inadequate. As a result, target of new sputum smear positive patients remained largely unachieved. There were serious irregularities in purchase of medicines and issue of unnecessary medicines. Despite availability of funds, RNTCP was implemented late and all districts were not covered.

Tuberculosis continues to remain the most pressing health problem in India. To control the disease the NTCP was launched by the government of India in 1962 and taken up by the state in 1965. A revised system of “Directly Observed Therapy” was introduced with World Bank assistance from March 1997 under the RNTCP which aimed at achieving cure rates of at least 85 per cent and detection rates of at least 70 per cent of the estimated cases. It was extended to 6 districts from 1999 in the first year. It proposed to cover 7 more districts in the second year and the remaining 5 districts in the third year. The RNTCP programme was started in phases only from January 1999.

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