New Delhi: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), a statutory body that monitors safeguards for Scheduled Tribes and ensures they are met, has objected to the blueprint of the PM and union government’s Social Inclusion Mission for Welfare of SCs and STs (PMSIM), as per an Economic Times report.
The major objection is that PMSIM will merge two major and inherently distinct initiatives – the Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC) and Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) – the ET reported. Problems faced by the SCs and STs are very specific, and need different approaches; putting both initiatives under one head would endanger this, These objections have been conveyed to the government.
The brand-new PMSIM
The Union government is soon to launch the new “PM Social Inclusion Mission for Welfare of SCs and STs” or PMSIM. The recently conceived flagship mission, budgeted at Rs 2.5 lakh crore, aims to implement targeted schemes for the socially and economically backward Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It will also fund schemes (including scholarships and skilling programmes) benefiting people in these communities, and habitations in villages with over 50% SC and ST population bypassing states.
The mission also aims to merge two existing, and vastly different initiatives set up for the benefit of the SC and ST communities. These are the Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC) and the Scheduled Tribe Component (STC). Currently, the two programmes are separate. According to the ET report, they required 41 Central ministries and departments to allocate a certain proportion of Budget outlay (around 16.6% for Scheduled Castes and 8.6% for Scheduled Tribes) for targeted schemes.
This merging is one of the features of the PMSIM that the NCST has objected to, according to the ET report on May 11.
The newspaper quotes sources stating that the NCST has told the government that the problems of SCs and STs are “distinctly different in nature and require separate strategies for identification of gaps and prevailing disparities as well as providing administrative arrangements and solutions thereof are also likely to be different for both categories”. ET also reported that the NCST recommended that separate guidelines and strategies be adopted for STs.
Another aspect of the PMSIM that the NCST has objected to is that it exempts some ministries and departments from allocating budgets for ST welfare schemes, details the report. These are the Ministry of Coal, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The NCST has objected to this exemption and has sought justification for this, according to the report.