Wednesday, March 2, 2011

[ZESTCaste] 'Govt needs to do more to uplift SC/ST people'

'Govt needs to do more to uplift SC/ST people'
TNN, Mar 1, 2011, 01.47pm IST

GUWAHATI: Pranab Mukherjee might take the pride of being the first
Union finance minister to enhance budgetary allocations for Scheduled
Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities, but experts feel that the
government needs much more to do for the uplift of the two communities
living in the northeast.

In his Budget, Mukherjee earmarked specific allocations towards
Scheduled Castes Sub-plan and Tribal Sub-plan. He proposed to increase
the Budget allocation for "primitive" tribal groups from `185 crore in
2010-11 to `244 crore in 2011-12.

Social scientist Walter Fernandes, however, opposed the use of word
"primitive" in Mukherjee's speech. "Use of the word primitive' is
unacceptable to us. The minister could have used a better word like
deprived' tribals or else to identify them," said Fernandes. He said
the education for the deprived tribals and other communities should
have been improved long ago. "Much greater push is essential towards
the improvement of education sector in tribal communities," Fernandes
said, adding that besides just making an announcements in the Budget,
the government should ensure that the money reach the needy people and
students in schools and colleges.

Mukherjee in his budget also highlighted the empowerment in education.
He said while the SC and ST had access to post-matric scholarships,
there was so far a lack of pre-matric scholarship scheme. He
introduced a scholarship scheme for needy students belonging to ST and
SC studying in ninth and tenth classes and hoped that it would benefit
about 40 lakh SC and ST students.

Prof Amar Yumnam, the dean of School of Social Science, Manipur
University, said the pre-matric scholarship can be termed as a
positive step for ST and SC students. "Though the Budget does not have
any grand design for the economy, it gives attention to the interest
of individual groups of population. The tribal development schemes are
part of this move," Yumnam added.

Terming the allocations for the development of tribals as not
satisfactory, Yumnam however said the finance minister has made the
budget wisely by attempting to address the interests of tribals and
other communities.

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