Budget funds for SCs, STs far less than their population: Study

In the last decade, the average allocation for Dalits is 9.2 pc and tribals 4.8 pc

Budget funds for SCs, STs far less than their population: Study

The budgetary allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the last de­c­a­d­e has been highly disproportionate to their population, according to a latest study.

An analysis by Abdul Aziz, visiting professor at the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), of State budgets in the last 10 years under successive governments has revealed that the budgetary allocation for the progress of the deprived communities has been far less compared to their total population.

Aziz, who made a brief presentation on his study at a pre-budget, round-table meeting chaired by Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya on Friday, said that the average allocation under various schemes for SCs was about 9.2 per cent and STs 4.8 per cent, while their population was about 17 per cent and seven per cent respectively.

This disparity is particularly worrisome since the Planning Commission has made it mandatory that funds for the welfare of SCs and STs should be in proportion to their population. The actual expenditure is also skewed, with just 50-80 per cent of the earmarked funds being spent. The study also revealed that whenever the government faced credit squeeze, it readily cut the funds for SC/STs under various schemes. Besides, about 50 per cent of funds are normally released between January and March — the last quarter of a fiscal year.

The study suggested that besides tribal and SC sub-plans, the government should have a separate component for human development. A human deprivation index should be prepared for proper allocation of funds, Aziz said, adding that a separate budget for SCs and STs should be presented.

At the meeting, Dalit leaders and organisations presented their wish lists to Anjaneya. Free LPG connection, better maintenance of students’ hostels, subsidised power supply to industries run by SCs and STs and extending Vidya Siri scheme to the communities are some of the demands they want to be incorporated in the 2014-15 State budget.

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