Netas duping dalits and tribals?
Subodh Varma, TNN | Mar 14, 2012, 04.31AM IST
Governments of all hues at the Center and state levels have always
claimed to be working for uplift of dalits and tribals, two of the
most deprived sections in India. Together, they comprise nearly a
quarter of India's population. Yet progress has been slow and patchy
despite decades of affirmative action. Why?
Part of the answer lies in gross neglect and insincerity of political
rulers - this is the conclusion of a study by the Center for Budget
and Governance Accountability (CBGA), a Delhi-based think-tank.
Based on CBGA's findings, it turns out that in 2011-12, for instance,
dalits were deprived of about Rs.23,890 crore and tribals of Rs.12,187
crore by deficient allocation by central government ministries.
Putting two key central government policies related to dalits and
tribals under the scanner, CBGA researchers found that these have
largely remained on paper. These policies are the Special Component
Plan (SCP) for scheduled castes and the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) for
scheduled tribes. Started three decades ago, they made it mandatory
for central government ministries and departments to earmark a fixed
share of their spending for dalits and tribals, in proportion to their
population. This means that each agency needed to exclusively spend
about 16% of their funds on dalits and about 9% on tribals.
Analysing data from 2004-05 till 2010-11, CBGA found that allocation
for dalits has ranged between 4% to 8%, and allocation for tribals
between 3% to 5% only. That is, the government is officially
allocating only about half the funds of what it is mandated to do. In
fact most ministries did not even differentiate between dalits and
tribals while giving spending details and just gave a notional,
lumpsum figure, says CBGA.
These funds were meant for various schemes ranging from education to
employment creation. Several crucial schemes like Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan (SSA), schemes in higher education, Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS), National Rural Health Mission ( NRHM) and
Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) do not even
have clear guidelines about provisions for dalits and tribals. Some
schemes like the Indira Awas Yojana and the Swarnajayanti Gram
Swarozgar Yojana do have such specific provisions and hence, work
Bowing to continued criticism on this count, the Planning Commission
set up a Task Force in 2010 headed by Narendra Jadhav. Among other
things, this recommended that every year, each ministry should give
details of how much money they spent on schemes related to dalits and
tribals. Details of spending are thus fully available since 2010-11
and they confirm the dismal picture of earlier years: spending
continues to languish in the 8-9% range for dalits and 3-5% for
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