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Modi government moves to revamp social welfare scheme

NEW DELHI: The Modi government has moved to revamp its post matric scholarship scheme to bear a majority of financial burden of the social welfare initiative.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment is likely to move the Cabinet to completely revamp its major welfare scheme for Scheduled Castes. So far, the scheme was working on committed liability principle, whose major financial burden fell on the state. The Centre would release funds at the end of a five year plan and would only add a small share to the entire kitty.

However, now the ministry has proposed that Centre bear 75% of the financial burden and states fund a mere 25%. The ministry has moved a note for approval of expenditure finance committee and is likely to table the revamped scheme in the next Cabinet.

The overall expenditure of the scheme is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore per year. The scheme has been under sharp focus because of arrears of previous years. So far, the ministry has been able to clear arrears till 2016-17 financial year.

However, arrears worth Rs 3,000 crore – Rs 1,500 crore for 2017-18 and 2018-19 and an additional Rs 1,500 crore for 2019-20 – still need to be cleared. A senior ministry official said, “If the current formula changes for 2019-20 financial year, we would need additional funds to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore.” This initiative has been the ministry’s big-ticket programme for SCs.