Diversion of funds holds Rajya Sabha to siege (Lead)

August 3rd, 2010 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha Tuesday witnessed uproar over an allegation that funds meant for Dalit welfare had been diverted to Commonwealth Games projects, forcing three adjournments after which the house admitted a discussion on the issue raised by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Raising the issue in the house, BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra demanded a parliamentary committee probe into the issue.

“A special parliamentary committee should be constituted and CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) should come up with a report,” Misra said.

As the debate was taken up following pressure from all major opposition parties, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan clarified that the government would reply to the matter after getting the required information from the Uttar Pradesh government.

“It is a serious matter. I will apprise the government, which will get back with the information shortly,” Chavan said.

Taking up the discussion, the opposition parties accused the government of corruption and being against the Scheduled Castes.

The BSP alleged that the diversion of funds reflected the anti-Dalit mentality of the government.

“It shows the real mentality of the government which pretends to be pro-Dalit,” Misra said. “Instead of using the funds meant for making schools, health centres and other amenities for the Scheduled Castes, the government put the money in the Commonwealth Games. It is shameful.”

Backing the BSP demand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu termed the diversion of funds as “atrocious”.

“This is not acceptable, the government of India should intervene, order an enquiry and take action,” Naidu said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist member Brinda Karat described it as “economic oppression”.

“They have robbed a major chunk of the money meant for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is not Commonwealth Games, it is ‘loot-wealth games’,” Karat said.

She also alleged that the diversion was done with permission from the Planning Commission.

“Planning Commission, which is headed by the prime minister… it happened with their permission,” she said.

Participating in the debate, nominated member Bhalchandra Mungekar said the diversion of funds was against the rules.

“The diversion of funds is indefensible, the funds earmarked for a special component plan and tribal sub plan is non-divertible and non-lapsable,” he said.

Replying to the debate, Chavan said that the government would get back with a reply after collecting the information.

An agitated opposition, however, demanded the minister give a deadline.

“The matter concerns the state and we will have to get information from the state government,” Chavan said.

The minister added that there was “no question of diversion of money meant for the SC and STs”.

According to information given in reply to a RTI application, nearly Rs.744.35 crore from Delhi’s special component plan (SCP), which is meant for improving the standard of living of the poor sections of the community through various government schemes and programmes, was diverted to the Games projects.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice Tuesday on the issue.

The series of adjournments came soon after the house assembled at 11 a.m. It was adjourned for 10 minutes first and later till noon. The chaos continued when the house reassembled and it was adjourned till 2 p.m.

The house finally took up the issue when it reassembled.

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