The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Central government that it could not hold back the future allocations of funds to the states under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) merely because funds allocated in the past were not spent.
“Such an approach does not really help anyone,” the court told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.
“You (the Centre) tell the states that we gave you money but you (states) did not spend it, thus we will not give any more funds. This does not really help anyone. You have to put in place a system to ensure that money is spent and not diverted”, said the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta.
The court’s observation came as it was told today that 790 cities spread all over the country were being covered under the NULM.
Taking a dim view of the position that fresh allocations were not made to the states which had not utilised the earlier funds, the court asked if the funds allocated for the welfare of urban poor including those without roofs over their heads were being audited by the CAG.
It also wanted to know if the committees have been set up in the states and the union territories for the implementation of the NULM, and are regularly taking stock of their objective.
“The Committees should function and meet. It may not be once a year over a cup of tea,” said Justice Lokur.
The twin objective of NULM is to reduce the poverty and vulnerability of urban poor by imparting them skilled training for access to gainful employment and setting up shelter homes with essential services to house poor without roofs over their heads.
Directing the further hearing of the matter on October 13, the court directed the Central government to place before it whether committees for the implementation of the NULM are in place in the states and union territories and the funds released were being audited or not.
The top court had on November 11, 2016 appointed a committee headed by Delhi High Court’s former judge, Justice Kailash Gambhir to inquire into availability of infrastructure and other facilities for night shelters in the cities.
Justice Gambhir had submitted its interim report in May this year.