National Commission for Scheduled Castes (Chairperson) Dr P L Puniya expressed serious concern over the “low conviction rate in cases of atrocities against backward classes.”
“The conviction rate in such cases is far less than the national average. The national average is 23 per cent whereas it is only 7 per cent in Maharashtra,” said Punia.
The state government is spending only half of the total amount sanctioned by the Union government under Special Central Assistance for various welfare schemes for schedules castes, he said.
“The Union Government had sanctioned Rs. 5819 crore to the state of which merely Rs. 2800 cores had been spent by the state.
“If the funds remained unused, the Union Government will not sanction any new funds,” he said. He also said FIRs are not being lodged in atrocity cases against destitute which is a matter of worry.
He congratulated the state for higher literacy rate amongst schedules castes than the national average. He also asked the state to take the issue of school drop outs. He clarified Commission’s stand over various issues including student scholarships, backlog / vacancy in sensitive districts and police stations.
In its two days visit to the state, the commission held several discussions with local representatives, NGOS, Chief Secretary and administrative officers in order to understand the problems faced by the scheduled castes in the state.