This press release was put out by the SC/ST BUDGET ADHIKAR ANDOLAN after a large protest in Delhi on 24 April
Massive uproar and agitation by over a thousand SC/ST’s marked the initiation of the campaign “Sau Mein Pachees Haq Hamara” at Jantar Mantar on 24 April, 2012. The protesters flooded the roads of Jantar Mantar as they marched along the high pitch drum beats, adding to the rhythm of the march. Even the scorching heat did not deter those who joined the protest march from several other states. They hooted in unison, “Hamara Haq Idhar Rakho!”
Street plays were performed depicting govt’s misappropriation of the SCP funds and the undertones of bias and untouchability which an average Dalit faces on a day to day basis were also shown through the play performance. Around 100 people along with leading Dalit activists shaved their heads as a symbol of mourning to portray the bleak picture which the govt has on offer for the SC/ST’s and how it is ‘cheating’ and weaning the money which should be rightfully allotted for the SC/ST’s welfare and upliftment. Some of the prominent people who shaved off their heads were Sri Rajendra Gautam, national vice-president of Samata Sainik Dal, Sri. Madhava Rao, retd Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Paul Divakar, General Secretary of Dalit Ardhik Adhikar Andolan, NCDHR, Dr. Prasad Sirivella General Secretary of the National Dalit Movement for Justice and others. Mr PS Krishnan, retd Principal Secretary Rural Development, and Many renowned acitivists graced the occasion by addressing the gathering,.
People were furious and they even ran up to the barricades which the Police had put for security purposes, a symbolic gesture, to signify if the demands are not meant, they would cross-over while protesting the next time. The follow-up march campaign “Chalo Parliament” which is aimed at leading the march to the Parliament is scheduled for 9 May 2012.
The protest at Jantar Mantar has been organised in coordination with the re-opening day of the Parliament session. There were parallel protests in 6 other states and eventually this would culminate into a huge mass mobilization on 9 May 2012 leading to “Chalo Parliament”.
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 for 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.
What is our need and demand?
Since the marginalized communities (SC/STs and tribal) have seldom had a chance to voice their opinion and even to seek what is rightful and deserving has always been a difficulty. We seek your cooperation and support and demand nothing but justice. Following are some of the key demands:
- A Central Legislation should be designed for Special Component Plan and Tribal Sub Plan. This Central legislation should provide for:
- Clearly setting apart a proportion of the total Plan outlays of Centre and States that is equivalent to the population proportion of SCs/STs at national and state level, for their development.
- 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 head.
- Encouraging participation of community, CSOs and experts in planning as well as implementation and evaluations of schemes.
- The performance/outcome budget should be published every year, providing details about the beneficiaries and be made available to public access.
- We demand, that the shortfall including the notional amounts 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 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.
Who are we?
SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan, we are a coalition of several organizations across the country, committed to the realization of excess rightful claims of Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), demand: (i) Central Legislation on SCP for SCs and TSP for STs and (ii) the Union Government to return the amount Rs. 36, 186.74 Cr. of SCP and Rs. 17,889.22 Cr. of TSP, which is the shortfall in current year (2012-13) allocation and the notional schemes which have no flows to the SCs and STs for their development.
For further details contact Manmeet Sahani (manmeet at ncdhr dot org dot in) or Beena J (beena at ncdhr dot org dot in)