IMPHAL: The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has expressed serious concern over the functioning of the Tribal Affairs & Hills department, Govt. of Manipur since the past many years.
Umpteen appeals have been made by the apex tribal students’ body to refrain from diverting funds meant for poor & needy tribal populace under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs Govt. of India. Unfortunately, repeated appeals for the same have turned a deaf ear, Seiboi Haokip, GS of ATSUM stated in a press release.
Frequent diversion/holding of funds by the Govt. of Manipur or non-releasing of fund by the Finance Department sanctioned by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs & Hills meant for developmental works in the tribal areas of the state and upliftment of poor and backward tribal populace has crippled the functioning of Tribal Affairs department. Family oriented schemes and Developmental projects are never released on time to the targeted beneficiaries. It is a grim reminder to us all that procrastinating in disbursement of ST Scholarship often ended up in pandemonium and protest in the Directorate of TA & Hills by the College and University demanding students to release post-matric scholarship and this year will also make no difference. These are all due to fund diversion by the state government and non submission of Utilization Certificate (UC) by the department to the Ministry, ATSUM stated.
“It has come to our notice that, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India on its letter vide No. 11015/01(10)/2019-TSP dated 5th June, 2020 requested the state government to furnish the pending Utilization Certificate (UC) and Physical Progress Report (PPR) to the ministry without any further delay in respect of grants under Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS). As such, the tribal students’ union has every reason to be sceptical and apprehensive of any fallout by the state government in complying with the Ministry’s letter,” the GS of ATSUM stated adding that if such situation should arise against the interest of the tribals, the state’s proposal for grants under SCA to TSS will be in abeyance.
“We are also paved way to suspect that due to non submission of UCs, the state Tribal Affairs and Hills department has been deliberately left-out of a video conferencing for Project Appraisal Committee (PAC) Meeting 2020-21 scheduled on 14th July, 2020 vide Ministry of Tribal Affairs letter F.No. 11015/02/2020-Grants dated 1st July, 2020 regarding meeting of PAC for appraisal and approval of Annual Plan 2020-21 of the State governments in respect of Grants under Article 271(1) of the Constitution, Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) and Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs)”, the apex body of tribal students said.
Under such a situation, the ATSUM urges the State Govt. and the Tribal Affairs & Hills department to immediately furnish the pending Utilization Certificates UCs within the time frame at the earliest in order to thwart unwanted complications in approval of grants by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Seiboi stated adding that non submission of the pending UCs by the State government will attract intense form of agitations from the tribal students’ Union and the tribal populace.