New Delhi, Oct. 10: The Centre has released Rs 160 crore as special assistance to the Jharkhand government to fund family oriented income generation schemes in agriculture, horticulture, sericulture and animal husbandry among tribal communities.
This was the first instalment of Rs 473 crore that has been allotted for the state for financial year 2012-13 as a part of the Centre’s tribal sub plan to spend Rs 21,710 crore for the welfare of tribal communities in various parts of the country.
Sanjay Kumar, additional resident commissioner, Jharkhand, said the funds had been sent out and work should now start to bridge development gaps in tribal areas, improve standards of living and speeding up the process of socio-economic development of communities.
Funds provided by the ministry of tribal affairs are used for specific schemes in integrated tribal development project areas where the tribal population is 50 per cent or more, modified area development approach pockets that contain 50 per cent or more scheduled tribes per 10,000 population and in areas inhabited by primitive tribes that are isolated communities among scheduled tribes characterised by low rate of population growth and low level of literacy.
Apart from these, funds are also meant for use as assistance for margin money loan programme for tribal finance and development corporations in the state.
Sadly, Jharkhand’s record of spending funds under tribal welfare schemes has been extremely poor.
Rameshwar Oraon, chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribe that monitors central funds utilisation, said that hardly 10 per cent of the total money spent under the scheme was reaching target groups.
“Funds are either unutilised or diversified for purposes other than they are intended for. We have been asking the Jharkhand government that how much has been spent under income generation scheme and infrastructure development in last three-four years but have not got a reply,” he told The Telegraph.
Oraon, who has been tribal affairs minister at the Centre, also claimed that their visits to tribal areas had revealed that no work had been done. “People do not have employment and they are living in a dark era all due to government apathy,” he said.