Recommendations on Reforming Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) / Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP)
— National Advisory Council
[The Working Group of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on Dalit Issues have prepared a set of Draft Recommendations to be considered by the National Advisory Council on the reform of the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan. These Draft Recommendations are placed in public domain for comments]
1. Approach Paper to the 12th Plan states that “An important initiative in closing the gap between the SCs/STs and the rest is the concept of Special Component Plan, consisting of the Scheduled Castes Sub‐Plan and the Tribal Sub‐Plan. This strategy purports to direct plan resources towards meeting their needs in proportion to their share in the total population. Its implementation, however, has been deficient both in the States, and the Centre. A new system must be devised for the Twelfth Plan which can overcome the difficulties experienced in the past and ensure that the sub‐Plans are implemented in letter and spirit”.
2. In order to achieve this objective, the National Advisory Council (NAC) recommends that planning and implementation of SCSP/TSP needs to be reformed so as to realize the objective of bridging the gaps on development indicators, between SC/STs and the rest of the population, in a time-bound manner.
3. The key principles for the reform agenda are:
3.1 A proportion of the total Plan outlays of Centre and States, at least equivalent to the proportion of SC/STs in the population at national and state level, should be set apart as Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP)/TSP respectively, before the Plan outlays are allocated to the Ministries/Departments by the Planning Commission in the Centre or Planning Department in the States. The SCSP/TSP set apart as above is not meant to be parked with any Ministry, but needs to be allocated to the Ministries/Departments for implementing such schemes which are directly benefitting SC/ST individuals/households or SC/ST localities. The allocation to the Ministries/Departments which are already implementing such schemes should be protected and if need be, augmented if they have high potential to bridge the development gaps of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. The practice of showing notional outflows by Ministries/Departments to account for SCSP/TSP should be discontinued.
3.2 A well- designed, dedicated institutional set-up at Centre and State level, which shall allocate SCSP/TSP funds to the Ministries/Departments, duly taking into consideration the development needs of SC/STs, so that Ministries/Departments can show clearly the schemes for development of SC/STs separately under a separate budget minor head.
3.3 The Institutional set-up referred to above to also be responsible for approvals and issue of sanctions and effective implementation and monitoring of SCSP/TSP.
3.4 SCSP/TSP funds should be deployed to implement schemes with a clear objective of bridging the gap in socio-economic development of SC/STs with particular focus on education, income generation and access to basic amenities in SC/ST localities in the country.
3.5 Following Schemes to be accorded highest priority in the 12th Plan period:
a. Two residential schools – one for boys and one for girls – to be set up in each block in rural areas and similar schools for boys and girls in urban areas per 1 lakh population.
b. Pre-matric and post matric scholarships schemes of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment/Ministry of Tribal Affairs need to be reformed to extend support to all students belonging to SC/ST, except those excluded based on well defined criteria. The quantum of support should enable the students to access quality education either in public or private sector.
c. Schemes to secure greater access of irrigated land, promotion of self employment schemes, and enterprise development to Scheduled castes/Scheduled Tribes.
d. Basic amenities conforming to certain quality norms should be provided to all SC/ST localities.
3.6 SCSP/TSP funds to be made non-lapsable and non-divertible.
3.7 SCSP/TSP funds to be channelized only to such schemes where tangible benefits accrue to scheduled castes/scheduled tribes individuals or households or groups or localities.
3.8 Schemes taken up under SCSP/TSP should be closely monitored and the information should be hosted in public domain so as to enable anyone to track every scheme, every household and every rupee spent under the scheme. Social auditing of the schemes should also be facilitated.
3.9 The original name, viz., “Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes” (SCP), which was in vogue from 1978 till 2006 should be restored.
[From here, on the NAC website].