New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel on Thursday "deplored" the non-expenditure of huge funds allocated to the Minority Affairs Ministry, saying it could result in entire range of minority schemes becoming "exercises in futility".
In its 37th report on the Ministry, the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment -- headed by Congress MP Hemanand Biswal -- also noted that despite marked improvement in the development indices of Muslims, the community lags behind the national average.
The panel noted with dismay that out of total budgetary allocation of Rs 3,135 crore under Plan during 2012-13, the actual expenditure incurred by the ministry was only Rs 2,165.82 crore and as such Rs 969.38 crore, which could not be utilised, were ultimately surrendered by the ministry.
"Notably, the Ministry of Finance reduced the budgetary allocation from Rs 3,135 crore to Rs 2,200 crore at revised estimate (RE) stage during 2012-13 under the plan head keeping in view the trend of expenditure till September 2012.
"The Committee deplores that no expenditure could be booked as the process of appraisal/approval of the five schemes...Could not be completed during the financial year... The Committee is dismayed to note the budget cuts for various schemes at the RE stage, ostensibly due to the inability of the ministry to utilise the funds for three quarters of the financial year...," the panel said.
It said that it was afraid that if such a "sorry state of affairs" is not addressed, the entire range of minority welfare and developmental schemes would become exercises in futility.
The Committee recommended that the ministry should ask all state governments to send their proposals in the first quarter of the fiscal itself so that evaluation of proposals and release of funds should be made by the second quarter.
It also said that status report should be made available to the Committee on every fiscal quarter about the progress made by the ministry.