- The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (Chair: Mr. Ramesh Bais) submitted its report on ‘Implementation of Scheme of Multi-Sectoral Development Programme/ Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram’ on August 9, 2018. The Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) (restructured and renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram) is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2008-09. It seeks to improve the development of minority concentration areas through creation of socio-economic infrastructure, provision of basic amenities, and other measures. Minority Concentration Areas are identified areas with at least 25% minority population, i.e. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians.
- Minority families living below poverty line: The Committee noted that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible for the welfare of minority communities. However, it does not have details of the total number of families living below the poverty line. The Ministry had informed the Committee that the matter has been taken up with NITI Aayog, as the matter of socio-religious census is pending with them. The Committee recommended the Ministry pursue the matter with NITI Aayog to obtain these numbers. This will ensure that the creation of assets for health, education, and skill development is tailored according to their needs.
Implementation of Scheme:
- Overall implementation: The Committee noted that although the Ministry has revised the scheme, the socio-economic conditions of the minorities remain unchanged. There were significant trends of missing basic amenities/ infrastructure in minority areas. The Committee recommend that the Ministry should co-ordinate with the concerned states/ union territories and other line Ministries to complete these incomplete projects in a timely manner and make efforts for better implementation of the scheme.
- Data on beneficiaries: The Committee noted that there is no community-wise data regarding the number of families benefited by the projects under the scheme. In the absence of such data, the Ministry cannot analyse the impact of the scheme on minorities. The Committee requested for updated data starting from 2008-09.
- Housing: The Committee observed that provision of pucca housing in rural areas under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) was one of the priority sectors of the MsDP during the 11th and 12th Five Year Plan. However, no units were sanctioned under IAY in several states during the Plan periods (including Kerala, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands). The Committee also observed that projects relating to drinking water supply and pucca housing have not been included in the restructured MsDP, despite housing being a basic infrastructure for the people living in minority areas. It recommended that projects under IAY and drinking water supply be included in the list of priority sectors of MsDP.
- Educational projects: The Committee noted that several education-related projects were sanctioned during the 11th and 12th Plan, but have not been completed. The Committee stated that the Ministry should make efforts to complete these pending projects without further delay. It also asked for community-wise details of beneficiaries of the education projects to be provided to the Committee.
- Health-related projects: With regard to health projects, the Ministry undertakes construction of Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Health Sub-Centres, and labour rooms in PHCs. Out of a total of 4,393 units/projects sanctioned in 11th and 12th Plan Period, only 2,432 projects/units were completed. The Committee emphasised that health of the people is one of the basic indicators of development of an area, and recommended that the Ministry should take steps with the Health Ministry and state governments, to ensure completion of the projects.
- Low utilisation of funds: The Committee noted that state-wise utilisation of funds under the scheme was low due to various reasons, including: (i) long gestation period of some projects, (ii) non-availability of land, (iii) cost escalation, and (iv) delay in transfer of funds by the states to the implementing agencies. It recommended that the Ministry should tackle these issues at the various levels with the state governments and other Ministries to ensure full utilisation of funds.
- Monitoring of scheme: The Committee noted that despite having several monitoring mechanisms, the impact of MsDP is hardly visible in the minority areas. It stated that the monitoring of projects under the scheme should be done by independent monitors once a year, and across states. Further, their reports should be uploaded on the scheme website.
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