Rameshwar Oraon at his Bariatu residence in Ranchi on Saturday. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchi, Nov. 7: Mindless diversion of funds meant for tribals by central and state government departments has attracted the attention of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. Its new chief now wants to put an end to the practice.
Rameshwar Oraon, chairman of the commission, plans to ask for reports from departments on the amount of tribal sub-plan (TSP) funds that have been diverted and how much has been used for the assigned purpose this year.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Oraon said, “Complaints of fund diversion by Centre and state departments are many. The commission would therefore ask for reports on such diversions.”
According to administrative norms, a per cent of budgetary allotments in government departments is to be set aside for expenditure on socio-economic issues, education, culture, development and welfare of tribal people residing in scheduled areas
This is known as TSP fund and is in addition to the funds that are allotted to departments for development and welfare of tribals.
Oraon said the commission would then send the reports to President Pratibha Patil, requesting her to ensure that the funds allotted for the welfare and development of the tribal people were used only for this purpose.
“In Jharkhand, majority of districts fall under scheduled area, and cases of TSP fund diversion here is numerous,” Oraon said, adding he would urge Planning Commission to keep a record on the fund diversion.
Early this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed concern over diversion of funds allotted for development and welfare of tribals.
Oraon, who had previously been minister of state for tribal affairs at the Centre, said states including Jharkhand were not following the rule of imparting education to tribal children up to class III in their tribal mother tongue.
“I will soon appraise the President about the flaw and ask her to direct the government to ensure that tribal children are taught in their mother tongue at the primary level,” he said.