Dalit orgs unhappy with SC/ST Budget allocation

Dalit organisations on Saturday questioned this claim from the final budget of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government. The Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan and National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights said in a statement that the increase of SC/ST funds is irrelevant to the communities since the direct allocation is meagre and violates the guideline on fund allocation. PTI file photo for representation.

In the budget speech on Friday, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal proudly announced that the "a substantial increase is proposed in the allocation for welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes."
 
He also said, "The allocation of Rs 56,619 crore made in BE of 2018-19 for Scheduled Caste, further increased to Rs 62,474 crore in RE is proposed to be enhanced to Rs 76,801 crore in BE for 2019-20, an increase of 35.6% over BE of 2018-19. For the Scheduled Tribes also, proposed allocation in 2019-20 BE is Rs 50,086 crore as against Rs 39,135 crore in BE 2018-19, an increase of 28%."

Dalit organisations on Saturday questioned this claim from the final budget of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government. The Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan and National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights said in a statement that the increase of SC/ST funds is irrelevant to the communities since the direct allocation is meagre and violates the guideline on fund allocation.
 
As per a Niti Aayog guideline in 2017, funds for the development of the SC and ST should not be less than their proportionate population. The groups say that the budget this year has ignored this guideline. 

 


Press conference by NCDHR and Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan in New Delhi on Saturday. (Credit: Twitter)

“This budget seems like a very glossed-over budget, although there is an increase in the allocation, there are several key schemes where the allocation has been reduced, like the post-matric scholarship where it has been reduced to Rs. 2,926 crores, starving the one scheme that will directly benefit the youth of the community. Therefore the gloss is only a “dhikhawa,” said N Paul Divakar, general secretary of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.
 
As per the finance minister,  8.16 per cent (Rs 76,801 crore) of the total eligible Central Sector Scheme and Centrally Sponsored Schemes is allocated for the SCs and Rs. 50,086 crore (5.34 %) for the STs. But, the proportionate share for the Scheduled Castes under the Scheduled Caste Component (SCC) this year amounts to Rs 1,39,660 crore and for Scheduled Tribes under  Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) is Rs 75,987 crore.
 
Growth of indirect schemes
 
The difference between funds for targeted-scheme and non-targeted schemes has also been widened. While Rs 65,329 crore was allocated for non-targeted schemes this year, the direct allocation for SCs and STs respectively are Rs 41,391.41  crore (53%) and Rs 20,167 crore (40%). 
 
The groups claim the indirect schemes do not have any visible benefit for the communities, hence the 60 per cent of funds for STs and 47 per cent for SCs are irrelevant. 
 
A total of 315 schemes were announced in the latest budget for SCs and among them 226 are non-direct. For STs, out of 324 schemes, only 21 provide direct benefit to the community. The organisations say that there's no strategy for the implementation of a huge number of non-targeted schemes.
 
Insufficient funds for schemes
 
Though Rs 2,200 crore has been allocated for the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan from the SCC and Rs 1,000 crore from the STC, the direct impact on manual scavengers needs attention. Only Rs 30 crore is allocated for the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers. The allocation for the National Safai Karamchari's Finance and Development Corporation is also only Rs 35 crores.
 
The organisations pointed out that the share of Dalit and Adivasi women in the gender budget statement amounts to Rs 6,851.48 crore, which constitutes 5.2 % of the total gender budget statement that is proposed to be of Rs 1,31,699.5 crore.
 
Despite a rise in violence against both communities, the budget for Strengthening of Machinery for Enforcement of Protection of Civil Rights Act 1995 and Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 has seen a small increase to Rs 490 crore from Rs 403.72 crore in 2018. 
 
A steady decrease is visible in land-related schemes. It's come down from Rs 415.17 under the SCC and Rs 250.10 crore under the STC to Rs 357.86 crore and Rs 221.60 crore respectively in this budget. According to the Dalit bodies, "all these schemes are silent on ownership patterns and needs of SC-ST agricultural labour and are non-direct in nature."
 
An analysis by the NCDHR says that the total allocation for the SCC in the last five budgets (Rs 2,29,243 crore) is also not proportionate to the population of SCs, which is Rs 5,05,015 crore. There is a total deficit of Rs 2,75,772 crore. Out of this, Rs 81,155 crore was from direct allocations and a huge Rs 1,48,088 crore was for indirect schemes. 

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Dalit orgs unhappy with SC/ST Budget allocation

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