Developed By: iNFOTYKE
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik has come down heavily on the various State Governments of the Northeastern region for failing to utilize the funds released by his ministry to cater to the needs of the deprived groups of the society.
During the 11th Five-Year Plan, he said the Ministry released substantial funds towards various programmes and schemes which are supposed to be implemented by various State Governments.
“Sadly the State Governments were not able to utilize the funds released to them. This is a clear reflection that there is lack of seriousness on the part of the Government to utilize the funds given by the ministry,” Wasnik said during the one-day conference of Social Welfare Ministers of Northeastern States held here on Tuesday.
In the 11th Five-Year Plan, he informed that the Ministry had released a total amount of Rs 672 crore to the various North Eastern States out of which only Rs 389 crore was utilized.
According to Wasnik, the percentage of funds utilized during the last five years aggregated only 78.96 percent (2007-2008), 58.44 percent (2008-2009), 71.91 percent (2009-2010), 42.08 percent (2010-2011) and 55.02 percent (2011-2012).
“Going by the figures, one can observe the serious shortfall on the part of the State Governments to utilize the funds released by the Centre. The State Governments have a responsibility to fill plug the loopholes and improve performance during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period,” the Union Minister said.
Meanwhile, Wasnik also criticized the State Governments for their failure to capitalize on the schemes provided by his Ministry for providing aid and appliances to People with Disabilities (PWD).
Divulging the details of funds sanctioned under this scheme and utilized by the various State Governments, he said that in 2007-2008, the State Governments utilized only around Rs 1.75 crore out of the total Rs 8 crore which was sanctioned.
In 2008-2009, Wasnik informed the fund which was utilized is Rs 6.02 crore out of the 10.6 crore which was sanctioned, adding that out of the 10 crore sanctioned in 2009-2010, only about Rs 5.02 crore was utilized.
Out of the total Rs 9.8 crore which was sanctioned in 2010-2011, Wasnik said the State Governments utilized around Rs 5.02 crore while adding that in 2011-2012, the State Governments are able to utilize only Rs 6 crore out of the Rs 10 crore which was sanctioned.
He pointed out that this lackadaisical attitude of the Governments has caused untold suffering to the beneficiaries “What is worse is that the beneficiaries of this scheme are People With Disabilities, ” the Union Minister said.
Wasnik also expressed his unhappiness that there is still a large number of PWDs who are yet to get their disability certificates.
As per the 2001 census, he said there were 7.42 lakh PWDs in the whole region.
Out of this 7.42 lakh, only about 29.7 percent have got their disability certificates while the remaining are yet to do so.
“There is a gap of ten percent when compared to the national figures on the number of people who have availed the disability certificates in the region,” Wasnik said.
He lauded Meghalaya and Tripura for achieving upto 72.07 percent and 93.9 percent respectively on the number of PWDs who have availed their disability certificates.
The Union Minister however criticized Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for achieving only around 5.7 percent and 5.99 percent on the PWD certificates.
He urged upon other Northeastern States to buck up and ensure that the PWDs get their certificates at the earliest . “It is important for the PWD to avail the disability certificates to be eligible to avail various schemes under the ministry,” Wasnik added.
Others who spoke on the occasion include Union Minister of DoNER Pawan Singh Ghatowar and Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincent H Pala.
Wasnik unhappy: Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik has expressed disappointment over delay in notification of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 by several states including Meghalaya.
Addressing newsmen here on Tuesday, Wasnik urged the State Government to immediately notify the act for the benefit of elderly people.
The Minister also stated that there is a need to enhance the old age pension from the current amount of Rs 200, adding the matter has already been taken up with the Finance ministry.