Scrap NULM if you can’t implement it, SC tells government

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the central government for not monitoring implementation of the National Urban Livelihood Mission for poor, including shelter for homeless people, by the state governments and asked it to scrap the scheme it if it can’t ensure implementation.

“It is your scheme. You have to fulfil it, otherwise you scrap it,” the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said as counsel for the central government sought to shift the blame for the scheme’s tardy implementation on state governments.

“We don’t know where the poor people of this country are heading for. There are concerns. Government of India is helpless,” observed Justice Lokur as court was told that in 2014-15, of the Rs.1,078 crore allocated under the NULM, only Rs.451 crore have been spent without any visible relief reaching the urban poor for whom the scheme has been formulated.

Taking exception to Uttar Pradesh spending Rs.25 crore on 60 proposals, Justice Lokur asked if the state government was spending about Rs.50 lakh on each proposal.

“Does states require lakhs of rupees for proposals only? What is happening to your money,” the bench asked the centre’s counsel reminding it that it was a centrally-funded scheme.

“By doing all this, you are doing nothing. Frittering away money. Rs.25 crore for 60 proposals. You can’t justify doing anything. Have you said anything for cutting costs to Uttar Pradesh? This won’t do. You are not doing anything,” the bench said to stock answers from counsel on its queries.

The bench was apparently displeased when counsel told it that this Rs.25 crore also included expenditure for infrastructure and locating land, noting it was clearly said that Rs.25 crore was spent on the proposals.

“You must tell the state governments to first locate land for shelter home, only then we will give the money,” the bench said.

“Is government of India helpless as far as state governments are concerned? What is the achievement,” Justice Lokur observed taking exception to the central government counsel telling it that states are asked to give details of how money allocated to them was being spent or the financial assistance is stopped in the next financial year.

The court was hearing of a plea by lawyer R.R.Kumar and Indu Prakash Singh seeking the implementation of the scheme for shelter homes under the NULM.

Kumar urged the court to ask the central government that how many shelter homes have been set up Andhra Pradesh which has spent Rs.56 crore.

He noted that of more than Rs. 10 crore spent by Maharashtra under the NULM, only Rs.57,000 have been spent on setting up shelter homes.

The court, while asking Kumar and Singh to respond to the reply given by the central government, adjourned the hearing.

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