Uttar Pradesh spends less than 10% of Centre's scheme in minority areas; State MPs raise concerns

​​As per data released by the ministry on Friday, the UP government, in 2019-2020, utilised only Rs 1,602 lakh of the Rs 16,207 lakh released by the Centre to improve infrastructure such as schools and primary hospitals in 249 units in 89 towns in...

UP CM Yogi Adityanath
NEW DELHI: MPs from UP have raised their concerns after the Union ministry of minority affairs informed Parliament on Thursday that the government had utilised less than 10% of the Rs 16,207 lakh given to the state to improve the living conditions and infrastructure in minority-concentrated areas.

As per data released by the ministry on Friday, the UP government, in 2019-2020, utilised only Rs 1,602 lakh of the Rs 16,207 lakh released by the Centre to improve infrastructure such as schools and hospitals in 249 units in 89 towns in 15 districts that have more than 25% Muslim population under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK).

MPs of Amroha, Moradabad and other districts told ET that under-utilisation of funds “reflected the biased attitude of state government against the Muslim community”.

During 2020-21, Rs 4,552.91 lakh was released to UP. In 2015-16, the UP government that was under the Samajwadi Party then, had spent 62% of the Rs 32,462 lakh given to the state under this scheme.

In 2016-17, the state spent 39% of the Rs 14,364 lakh, while in 2017-18 it used 40% of the Rs 15,182 lakh released. The utilisation was 31% in 2018-19 of the Rs 37,653 released.

MP of Amroha, Danish AIi, said he had noticed the low availability of funds during DISHA committee meetings where, as an MP, he has to look at the progress of all projects in his constituency.

“There is absolutely no funds even to build basic primary care hospitals in the Muslim areas...If the Centre is releasing it, why is the state holding it back? The Centre must allocate sufficient funds required for the welfare of minorities and the UP government must fully utilise them without any negligence and discrimination,” he added.

“When BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh during 2017-18, the utilisation declined to 39%...During the election year (2018-19), the utilisation declined to 31%. I am shocked that during 2019-20, it has gone down to 9.9%. The total allocation of funds from 2015-16 was reduced to less than 50% and the Uttar Pradesh government utilised less than 10% out of the allocated funds. This is not inclusive development”.

The 2008 scheme was restructured in 2018 to develop the socio-economic infrastructure and basic amenities, a senior official in the central ministry of minority affairs told ET. “In fact, it was only for areas with more than 50% minority population, but we reduced it to 25%... For larger coverage of the scheme, the areas have been increased from 90 districts originally to 308 districts of the country.”

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have done much better in fund utilisation, the official said. “Recently, the Tamil Nadu government cleared 57 projects in minority concentrated areas of nine districts at Rs 2,425 lakh under the scheme...the challenge of under utilisation is specific to some north Indian states.”

Moradabad MP ST Hasan told ET that the lack of funds will lead to more resentment among Muslims. “It is almost like telling the community they have no rights. It will also keep them backward..The Centre and state should take responsibility for the utilisation of funds.”

Two years ago, a parliamentary panel which evaluated the scheme had asked the Centre to address issues such as long gestation periods of some projects, non-availability of land, cost escalation, and delay in transfer of funds by states to the implementing agencies that had led to under utilisation of funds. It had asked for the scheme to be assessed by a third party.

UP government officials said they were aware of the low utilisation of Central funds under this scheme, and were putting in place a system to curb “prevalent corruption in certain bodies entrusted with implementing central schemes in the state”.

A senior official said Mohsin Raza, minister for minority affairs, has raised this issue with senior officials and investigating agencies. “There have been many complaints on how the money for years has never reached the people and has been pocketed by officials,” an official told ET on condition of anonymity.

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