By Payal Banerjee:
THE Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry’s proposal of a “new fund-sharing pattern”, wherein the Centre will bear majority of the financial burden of a scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) students, has been sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The Centre will bear 60 per cent and States 40 per cent of the financial burden of the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students, as per the proposal.
“The Ministry has moved the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA),” a senior official said. Revamping the scheme is one of the priorities of the Ministry in the first 100 days agenda of the second term of the Modi Government, a source said. So far, the scheme is being run on the concept of committed liability and due to this maximum part of the financial burden had to be borne by state Governments and UT administrations in 2017-18 and 2018-19. “The Ministry, thus, has formulated a proposal for revising of funding pattern under Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Caste Students from the existing concept of ‘committed liability’ of the states to a fixed sharing ratio between the Centre and the States.
“This will ensure certainty about flow of funds and reduce the financial burden on the state,” the official said. The Ministry’s original proposal had suggested a funding pattern of 75 per cent and 25 per cent between the Centre and the State. The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) then recommended the Ministry to follow a fixed sharing pattern of 60:40 between the Centre and States. For the North-East, it’s in a 90:10 ratio. A large share of the arrears accumulated at the end of the 12th year plan period and dues for 2017-18 have already been released to the States and UTs, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria informed the Parliament recently.
An amount of Rs 425.92 crore, due for States of Punjab, Gujarat and Goa for the period up to 2017-18 could not be released due to non-receipt of enabling documents from these States, he said. The Central Assistance (CA) of Rs 395.46 crore, Rs 29.18 crore and Rs 8.39 crore have been released to Karnataka during 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively covering entire arrears up to 2017-18 and 50 per cent of anticipated dues of CA for 2018-19. Further release of CA is considered based on actual demand for 2018-19 received from the State. The total annual expenditure of the Centre and State on the scheme is about Rs 10,000 crores.