Fund crisis, staff shortage hit functioning of TN SC/ST commission

The Tamil Nadu state Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which was constituted just 10 months back, is turning ineffective after it lacked operational funds and shortage of staff.

Sources in the commission told IANS that the SC/ST body has not yet received any funds from the state government. Interestingly due to shortage of staff, the body has deputed six officials from Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (TAHDCO).

The SC/ST activists blame the Tamil Nadu government for its callous attitude towards the functioning of the commission and for not providing proper funds for the commission.

While speaking to IANS, K.R. Murukesan, an SC/ST activist, said, “The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin has taken interest to constitute the commission in September 2021. However, after 10 months of constituting this body, it lacks functioning as there is no funds nor proper staff deployed for the commission which is a constitutional body.”

SC/ST department officials told IANS that the appointment of staff involves four departments, human resources, finance, adi-dravidar welfare, and law and hence the files are stuck at different offices.

An officer with the SC/ST department while speaking to IANS said, “The bureaucratic red-tapism is creating a major void on the move of the state government to constitute a commission.”

Sources in the SC/ST commission said that the body is dependent mainly on TAHDCO to procure even stationary and day to day running of the office. The body is also functioning on the sides of TAHDCO.

The commission headed by Justice (Rtd) P.R. Shivakumar is a five-member body but has only four members including the chairman. Interestingly, the commission receives a minimum of 10 letters a day but no action was forthcoming.

However, Minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, N. Kayalvizhi while speaking to IANS said, “The staff required for the commission will be appointed soon and till then it will be the staff from TAHDCO who will work on deputation at the commission.”

The commission since its inception has received 1100 petitions on many subjects including caste discrimination and atrocities. However, due to lack of officials, it is difficult for the commission to handle this huge inflow of petitions and with the staff joining immediately most of the issues could be settled.

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