Minister informs Parliament on number of backlog vacancies, decline in funds for other economic support schemes for STs
In 2017, out of a backlog of 6,887 vacancies reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs) in various central government ministries and departments, only 3,595 were filled, leaving around 47 per cent reserved positions vacant.
Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor, minister of state in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, provided the figures in reply to a question raised in the Lok Sabha. The reply included data from 2016—when around 30 per cent of the vacancies reserved for STs remained unfilled.
“As per information compiled by department of personnel and training in 10 central ministries/departments which includes their public sector banks/financial institutions, central public sector undertakings etc, out of 22,829 backlog reserved vacancies for STs, 15,874 vacancies were filled up during the period from April 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016,” the minister told the Parliament.
While, on one hand, the minister told the Parliament about the unfilled reserved vacancies, on the other, responding to a different question, he informed the House about the decline in funds for other economic support schemes for STs.
Giving details about the funds earmarked and utilised under the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme and development of value chain for MFP’, Bhabhor told the Parliament that while the allocated funds for the scheme has come down from Rs 163 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 100 crore in 2017-18, the utilisation of those funds have plummeted from Rs 112 crore to a mere Rs 8.59 crore in the same period.
Although the figures for the year 2017-18 (upto December 31, 2018) are relatively better, with allocation of Rs 130 crore and utilisation of Rs 93 crore. In his reply, the minister also provided figures for the decline in loan amounts to STs under the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC).
NSTFDC is a body under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, formed to economically uplift the STs through financial assistance. NSTFDC provides loans through its state channelising agencies, certain public sector/cooperative or regional rural banks under four schemes—Term Loan scheme, Adivasi Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana (AMSY), Micro Credit Scheme for Self Help Groups and Adivasi Shiksha Rrinn Yojana (ASRY).
Figures for the loan amount under all these schemes, given in Bhabhor’s answer, show a downward trend. Under the Term Loan Scheme, the loan amount came down from Rs 125 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 27 crore in 2018-19 (till December 31, 2018). In the same period, the beneficiaries of the scheme came down from 14,836 to 6,164.
Under the Micro Credit Scheme, in the same period, loan amount increased from Rs 4 crore to Rs 6 crore, with beneficiaries increasing from 3,186 to 5,972. However, in 2015-16, the loan amount was Rs 55 crore and the beneficiaries were 26,080.
For AMSY, the loan amounts came down from Rs 23 crore to Rs 0.61 crore between 2014-15 and 2018-19. During the same period, the number of beneficiaries declined from 11,161 to a mere 202. With ASRY, while the loan amount went down from Rs 1.33 crore to Rs 1.09 crore between 2014-15 and 2018-19, the number of beneficiaries increased from 17 to 39.
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