Lower grants for Ministry of Social Justice will impact targets

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New Delhi, May 1 (UNI) A Parliamentary panel has said the reduction in the 2008-09 budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would affect the achievement of targets in major schemes like Special Central Assistance to the Scheduled Castes Component Plan, Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Scavengers, Pre and Post Matric Scholarship for the OBC students, among others.

The allocation has been slashed at a time when there is an increasing demand for more attention to the social sector, noted the Standing Commitee on Social Justice and Empowerment in its 33rd Report.

It observed that against the projection of Rs 2,726 crore, the Ministry was allocated only Rs 2400 crore.

Considering the Ministry's record of optimum utilisation of allocated funds, which is 98.85 per cent of the outlay during 2007-08 and to enable them to fulfil their mandate to the vulnerable sections of the society, the allocation should not have been reduced.

The Committee has also underlined the need for revising the amount of scholarship.

It said the rates under the schemes of pre and post-matric scholarship for children of those engaged in unclean occupations, post-matric and pre-matric scholarships for the OBC students and hostels for the OBC boys and girls were fixed in the 1990s, while the prices had increased manifold since then, so a revision in the scholarship amount was needed.

Moreover, the cost of construction has also gone up necessitating the revision of cost norms for the hostel scheme too, it said.

''In the opinion of the commitee, the revisions would help in minimising the gaps and disparities that exist in the general population and sociaty disadvantaged groups,'' the Committee said.

UNI NAZ RL RK1731

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