A Struggle to reclaim the rightful share of the Dalits and the Adivasis
See the video below.
New Delhi, 9 May: Dalits and Adivasis displayed remarkable strength of unity as they walked to claim what is rightfully theirs. They marched in huge numbers (nearly 5000) from Mandi house to Parliament Street, not willing to be discouraged by the heat and traffic at the National Capital.
JESA Secretary, Sannybhai and the SAPI National Coordinator, Amrit Sangma along with Dr. Selvaraj (ISI-Dalit Unit Head) actively supported the campaign by SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan and plans to lobby for the cause in various units of their work to benefit the tribals and dalits. SAPI can play the role of linking the tribals to this cause and arrange to bring the existing policies to benefit the tirabls and dalits.
We at JESA/SAPI believe that our networks with SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan (main organiser of the campaign) and other supporting movements will amplify our strength and unity in our struggle for the rights of the marginalised. Coordination and support from provinces and other Jesuits Social Action units will not only help us bell the cat but also add cherry on the cake in this mission.
Supporting the cause, Aruna Roy, member of National Advisory Council articulated the need to demand from all political parties the inclusion of the agenda of legislating the SCP /TSP into their respective party manifestoes in order to win votes from Dalits and Adivasis.
Video on the SC/ST Sub Plan Campaign
Needs and demands cited are:
I. A Central Legislation be designed for Special Component Plan and Tribal Sub Plan. This Central legislation should provide for:
a. Clearly setting a part of the Centre and State’s total plan outlay in proportion to SC/ST populations for their development.
b. A well- designed, dedicated institutional set-up at the Central & State level, which shall allocate SCP/TSP funds to the Ministries/Departments, duly taking into consideration the developmental needs of SCs/STs. This will enable the Ministries/Departments to clearly show the schemes formulated for the development of SC/STs under a separate budget
c. Encourage participation of communities, CSOs and experts in planning as well as implementation and evaluations of various schemes.
d. Publishing the performance/outcome budget every year, providing details about the beneficiaries and be made available to public access.
II. We demand that the shortfall of Rs. Cr. 33,756.74 of SCP and Rs. Cr. 13,275.95 of TSP in the current Union budget 2012-13, be returned and reallocated to schemes with a clear objective of bridging down socio-economic gap between SCs/STs and Non-SCs/STs with particular focus on health, education, housing, assignment/acquisition of land, employment, income generation, entrepreneurship and access to basic amenities.
What is the struggle about?
SCP and TSP were instituted in the year 1978-79, these are the two plans which form an integral part of the SC/STs and Tribal welfare fund, where the government had decided that out of every 100 rupees spent by the government, Rs.16/- will be spent for Dalits and Rs.8/- spent for Adivasis every year; AND that the funds would be used for such schemes that will directly benefit SC/ST individuals/households or SC/ST bastis/tolas/localities. The government has instead, very conveniently, diverted a large share of this money to general schemes, hardly benefitting the Dalits and the Adivasis. One of the recent examples being diversion and misappropriation of funds which happened during the common wealth games where a large sum of money was spent on building the stadia and other such infrastructure, thus weaning the rights of the SC/ST’s and Dalits. This act on government’s part is utterly shameful. It demeans the importance of govt. budgetary planning and sense of justice.
In the current union budget 2012-13, a shortfall of Rs. 27526.78 cr. to SCP and Rs. 11008.90 cr. to TSP in violation of the Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) guidelines has been noticed. Even in the amounts that have been allocated, there is a ‘notional’ allocation (other than intended) of Rs. 6,229.96 cr. in SCP and Rs. 2267.05 cr. in TSP. In the XIth plan period alone Rs 96,236.70 cr. was denied to Dalits and Rs 46,628.50 cr. to Adivasis, making a total of Rs.1, 42,865.20 cr. for SCP/TSP of the Union Government alone. If the aggregate of Union and state denials were to be aggregated, the amount denied would be double of what it is now at the Union level.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also remarked that SCP and TSP funds should be non-divertible and non- lapsable, with the clear objective of bridging the gap in socio-economic development of the SCs and STs within a period of 10 years. 33 years have lapsed and the government has failed to keep its promise even for once.
SAPI National Coordinator