Direct Cash Transfer Plan for poor SC/ST’s

The Central Government has planned a new scheme under the Niti Aayog helping the poorest of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Central Government is preparing to implement a monthly income of less than 5000 with conditional cash transfers.

After a detailed analysis, Niti Aayog has proposed to revamp the decades-old Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Sub Plan which involve 41 ministries earmarking 2-20% of their total annual budget as SC and ST components. Niti Aayog has formulated a plan which would now consolidate both the components into a central fund worth over Rs 1 lakh crore. Of this, 40% would be paid as direct cash transfers, involving the poorest SC and ST households which have a family income of less than Rs 5,000 per month. Every month, these households would get a direct cash transfer if they fulfil certain criteria such as sending children to school and getting children vaccinated under the Centre’s Indradhanush programme. The scheme is similar to Brazil’s successful Bolsa Familia Programme.

The remaining 60% of the funds would be provided for infrastructure development targeted at districts with high populations of SCs and STs. These would include providing drinking water supply, residential schools for SCs and STs, sanitation and nutrition. At present, the Centre earmarks over Rs 1.3 lakh crore under SC and ST Sub Plan every year. However, the utilisation remains poor with many ministries unable to identify schemes to target SCs and STs.