New Delhi: Anguished over the lapse of funds allocated for the disabled people, a Parliamentary panel has asked the Department of Disability Affairs to make all efforts for full utilisation of its budget in this current fiscal.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, in its report, also termed "unacceptable" the reasons given by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry for under-utilisation of funds.
"The Committee find these reasons unacceptable and are deeply anguished that the budgeted funds for the people with different abilities which were due to them as their rightful share, have been allowed to lapse," the report said.
Recommending the Department to make an all out effort for full utilisation of its budget worth Rs 611 crore in 2013-14, the Committee has also asked central ministries and government departments to be "sensitive" to the needs of disabled people.
"The Committee would like other Ministries/Departments to be sensitive enough to the needs of the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and support the Department of Disability Affairs in its endeavour to achieve its laudable goals," the panel said.
The Committee also recommended that the Department should be "rechristened as the Department of Differently abled" and full sustained publicity be given to its programs so that the target groups avail the benefits.
For 2012-13, the department was given a budgetary allocation of Rs 548 crore, which was reduced to Rs 308 crore at the Revised Estimate stage.
The total expenditure incurred for the year was Rs 267.50 crore, which the Committee said was "less than 50 per cent of the allocated amount."
Reasons given by the Department for under-utilisation of
funds were "frequent changes in posting of Financial Advisor, change in procedure for requirement of documents, late receipt of proposals from the state governments" among other.
The Committee was also "unhappy" at the non-posting of regular Financial Advisor in the Department for most part of the year resulting in non-sanction of proposals of various state governments.
Noting that the functioning of the Department has been constrained due to severe shortage of staff at all levels, the Committee urged upon the Ministries to "urgently" address the issue and enable it to function effectively and efficiently for welfare and development of the target groups.
It also urged the Department to resolve issues with state governments and agencies responsible for implementation of its schemes.
The Committee also asked the Department to impress upon the state governments to send their proposals well in time in the first quarter so that entire financial allocation can be utilised uniformly.
It also asked the Department to take up the matter with the Finance Ministry to relax the expenditure norms in such cases so that crucial funds for welfare of persons with different abilities do not lapse.