India: Union Budget 2014-15 yet again belies expectations of Dalits, Adivasis
PRESS RELEASE: Union Budget 2014-15 yet again belies expectations of Dalits, Adivasis: NCDHR
11 July 2014, New Delhi
With no significant policy for inclusive and equitable growth as promised by the Modi Government, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)-Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan (DAAA) today described the Union Budget 2014-15 as extremely disappointing, while saying it belied the expectations of the Dalits and Adivasis.
The Union Budget 2014-15 should have allocated Plan funds under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) in proportion to the population shares of SCs (16.8 percent) and STs (8.7 percent). However, the allocation is Rs 50,548.16 crore (8.79 percent) for SCs and Rs 32,386.84 crore (5. 63 percent) for STs.
Also, the funds earmarked under SCSP and TSP should have projects /interventions meant exclusively for SCs and STs. However, this year the SCSP and TSP have to bear the burden of partly funding the MNREGA, a wage-based programme, too. So, when we deduct the amount allocated to MNREGA from the SCSP then the total allocation decreases to Rs 43,208.08 crore, which is 7.51 percent; and similarly, when we deduct the amount from the TSP, the amount reduces to Rs 26,714.96 crore, which is 4.64 percent.
In this year’s Budget, there is a shortfall of Rs 49,941 crore to the SCSP and Rs 20,435.04 crore to the TSP, while last year the shorfall stood at Rs. 48,401 crore to the SCSP and 20,938 crore to the TSP.
“This Budget is no different from earlier exercises so far as Dalits and Adivasis are concerned. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made an allocation of Rs 82,935crore for the “welfare” of SCs and STs, who together constitute more than 25 per cent of India's population. The overall economic development of the Dalits and Adivasis is expected to be taken care of by this outlay, but it is not a fair share,” said Paul Divakar, General Secretary, NCDHR.
The common thread running through all the Budgets tabled since Independence is the exclusion of the Dalits and Adivasis, and the Union Government failing to make population proportionate allocation for the SCs and STs.
He added, “The Budget has bypassed the development needs of the Dalits and Adivasis. It will have a damaging impact on Dalits and Adivasis as the underlying assumption is that it is ‘fair’ and reasonable to expect all Indians to share equally the burden of budget cuts and increased costs. However, when access to goods and services is not available to all citizens on an equal basis, and when people do not in real terms have an equal ability to pay, acting on this assumption only exacerbates existing inequality.”
In terms of concrete actions for the SCs and the STs, the NDA manifesto promised significant boost to education, housing, health, skill development, entrepreneurship, poverty eradication, efficient utilization of development funds with special focus on the girl child. However, the Budget has ignored certain schemes meant for Dalit and Adivasi girls, especially in education. For instance, the National Scheme for Incentive to Girl Child for Secondary Education, schemes for construction and running of girls’ hostels, etc.
On the bright side, the Budget proposes credit enhancement facility of Rs 200 crore for young start-up SC entrepreneurs. Also, a welfare scheme for tribals called the Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana is being launched with an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore.
Conceptualised in the 1970s by the Planning Commission, the two plans, the SCSP, and the TSP, are aimed at channeling Plan funds for the development of SCs and STs, in accordance with the proportion of SCs and STs in the total population. But even after three decades since these strategies were introduced, a scrutiny of the budgetary resources earmarked for SCs and STs raises serious concerns.
Besides diversion of funds, the other reasons for the SCSP/TSP’s failure are inadequate allocation of funds proportionate to the SC/ST population, poor identification of schemes and faulty service delivery systems.
“The budgetary allocation for the SCSP/ TSP can still be improved and should not only remain as an expression of intent without any commitment,” concluded Divakar.
For more information:
Media and Communications Manager
National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)
8/1 South Patel Nagar, 2nd Floor
New Delhi - 110 008
Mobile: +91 9650170077
Photo: Dalits and Adivasis in a demonstration demanding for proper implementation of the SCSP (NCDHR)