Posture and policy

The Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) are two policy instruments that are expressly designed at undoing the baneful hierarchies of the past, accelerate the empowerment of SC/STs and further the vision of an equitable society.

Written by K. Raju , Pushparaj Deshpande | Published:July 4, 2017 1:07 am
dalits, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, delhi scheduled caste, delhi obc, india news Given that in the last three years the state has been (directly and indirectly) complicit in compromising the well-being of SC/STs, it was widely feared that the NDA government would not honour the commitments enshrined in the SCSP and TSP.

In all matters, the symbolic and the substantive are equally important. Therefore, the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind for the office of the President of India is a powerful symbolic articulation of the BJP’s desire to be seen as a pro- Dalit party. However, the substantive part, which is the BJP’s track record in meeting the needs and aspirations of Dalits through governance, is an infinitely better barometer to evaluate its commitment for the welfare of Dalits.

Government expenditure either performs an enabling function (something that public infrastructure, and services do) or directly enhances individual capabilities (through scholarships, housing or work schemes etc.). Penultimately however, all expenditure is geared towards ensuring that citizens can achieve fullness of life. In working towards guaranteeing the welfare of all peoples in India, the state is constitutionally mandated to undertake special measures to bridge the development gap between historically excluded and marginalised communities like the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the rest of the population.

The Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) are two policy instruments that are expressly designed at undoing the baneful hierarchies of the past, accelerate the empowerment of SC/STs and further the vision of an equitable society. Specifically, the SCSP and TSP guidelines of the erstwhile Planning Commission mandate that public resources towards SC/ST welfare must be earmarked in proportion to their share in the total population. Accordingly, the government must allocate at least 16.6 per cent of the plan component of the budget towards the welfare of SCs and 8.6 per cent of the plan component of the budget towards the welfare of STs.

Given that in the last three years the state has been (directly and indirectly) complicit in compromising the well-being of SC/STs, it was widely feared that the NDA government would not honour the commitments enshrined in the SCSP and TSP. It was therefore a matter of great relief when it issued a circular in August 2016 agreeing to adhere to the SCSP and TSP guidelines for allocations to the SC/ST schemes, albeit under different names (necessitated with the scrapping of the Five Year Plans, under which the sub plans were housed).

After steep declines and fluctuations in the SCSP (which dropped from Rs 50,548 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 30,851 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 38,833 crore in 2016-17), and the TSP (which dropped from Rs 32,387 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 20,000 crore in 2015-16 and to Rs 24,005 crore in 2016-17), the enhanced allocation in 2017-18 (Rs 52,393 crore for SCs and Rs 31,920 crore for STs) seems like a definitive increase. The Congress was initially relieved that the NDA government restored allocations to the same levels as under the UPA government.

However, a careful analysis of the budget reveals that the NDA has drastically slashed expenditure meant for the welfare of SCs and STs. What the government has done is to classify non-targeted (generic/administrative) expenditure (such as infrastructure maintenance, pension schemes, upgrading hospitals, grants to the Sports Authority of India etc) as SC/ST specific to inflate figures. This is in clear violation of the Jadhav Committee guidelines, which clearly state that only those schemes that “directly benefit individuals, families and hamlets belonging to the SC/ST community” should be categorised as targeted schemes under the SCSP and TSP, something that the NDA’s August 2016 circular committed itself to. Those schemes that don’t directly or quantifiably benefit SC/STs must perforce be excluded under the SCSP/TSP.

Following these principles, if one excludes the generic/non-targeted schemes that the NDA has deceitfully included as SC/ST welfare specific, what emerges is of the Rs 52,393 crore supposedly allocated for SCs, only Rs 25,708 crore are actually meant for the welfare of SCs. Similarly, of the Rs 31,920 crore allocated for the welfare of STs, only Rs 15,643 crore are actually meant for the welfare of STs!

Therefore in real terms, in comparison to previous year’s budget, budget 2017-18 marks a 33.79 per cent decline for SC welfare allocations and 34.8 per cent decline for ST welfare allocations. Compared to UPA’s interim budget (2014-15), this budget marks a decline of almost 50 per cent in funds for SC welfare and 52 per cent for ST welfare. It is extremely unfortunate that the NDA is indulging in mere statistical jugglery, driven by the mala fide intention of being seen to doing good, rather than genuinely work for the uplift and empowerment of the SC/ST communities.

Raju is chairperson, SC department, All India Congress Committee and Deshpande is an analyst with the AICC

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  1. K
    K SHESHU
    Jul 4, 2017 at 7:56 pm
    Rulers thrive on lies, lies and statistics
    Reply
    1. A
      Atis Mitra
      Jul 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm
      Do Kovind or Meira Kumar look like any DALIT (OPPRESED)?
      Reply
      1. A
        Armaan Ku
        Jul 6, 2017 at 10:05 am
        Would you accept a village Dalit as a President? Then you would say that a prospective President should be accomplished, English speaking dignitary. An average dalit from a village can never accomplish such peaks in in a lifetime. Maybe his next generation, born brought up in English medium schools, may have a fighting chance. Just because you get a reserved govt. job doesn't mean it changes the handicaps with which you were born. Upbringing, awareness and facilities with which you grow in formative years makes you accomplished.
        Reply
      2. G
        Gopalkrishnan Nair
        Jul 4, 2017 at 6:14 pm
        Years of hard work put in by braminism to ensure that a section of the socirty is chained as slaves. To justify it they use all sort of lies and stories and quote from books those were not written or understood. The castsistm is perfect example of aperthid. From the they arr born are told that you are inferior. All basic needs for self development were denied to them . Mere chance to exist was a blessing given by the section at top end of this wretched system. To come out of it they needed someone to help them. Many tried too, like Budha, the great Gurus of Sikhism , recently Mahathma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar , Mahathma Phoole, even KASHIRAM etc have tried. The psychology of the victims is so derailed that they too have failed. The people work to keep the system even hijacked the legacy of such great men and women. The timid lower class are so weak and devoid of any selfconfidence that they are resigned to their fate. Even god refuses to help them.
        Reply
        1. A
          Antony
          Jul 5, 2017 at 12:15 am
          Does Meira Kumar Kovind Lallu Modi and many others look like slaves? Are you one of those who like to spread the poison of division of Hindus so that you can spread slavery and racism invented by Christianity?
          Reply
          1. G
            Gopalkrishnan Nair
            Jul 5, 2017 at 10:30 am
            Well , neither you are a Christian. Now you will tell me that nqvi, akbar etc are true muslims.
        2. S
          Sid Srivastava
          Jul 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm
          Good example of low quan y policy makers from Congress. They use data from the defunct planning commission. They use some committee report set up by their government as truth. BUT they can not name a single scheme that bene ed Dalits. They have never been to any Dalit house. That are appointed by Pappu.
          Reply
          1. d
            dv1936
            Jul 4, 2017 at 3:03 pm
            SC/ST nonsense has destroyed the country, it is time to STOP the political votebank politics.
            Reply
            1. S
              Smart
              Jul 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm
              Agreed.
              Reply
              1. A
                Armaan Ku
                Jul 6, 2017 at 10:07 am
                It is easy to say all this sitting in an air-conditioned room. Rather than judging the plight of others based on your myopic view, do something constructive.
            2. S
              SP
              Jul 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm
              The SC/ST laws were brought as temporary measure. So was article 370. All these temporary measures and distortions should be removed. There should be no place for caste in governance.
              Reply
              1. D
                Datta Tembhekar
                Jul 4, 2017 at 2:14 pm
                We must stop this Dalit appea t too. By giving this 'targeted' benefit, congress wants to make sure that Dalits remain as they are. That's what they have done in sixty years since independence. If dalit remains a dalit, he remains a congress vote bank so congress thinks. Please, for god sake, make Dalits literate. Make sure every dalit child completes high school education. And don't ask govt to do it. This work should be taken up by the uplifted Dalits (in last 70 years). And some one amongst the Dalits has also to make sure that this 'dalit' tag (given thru cons ution by Mr Ambedkar) is removed cons utionally. I sometimes feel had there been no reservation, castes would have been abolished and many dalits would have seen better days. Alas. I don't think I will be alive to see those wonderful days.
                Reply
                1. K
                  kranti
                  Jul 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm
                  To get rid of caste system Hindus must get rid of Sacredness of castes and the karma of previous Birth. To do that Hindus must reform the Shastras, to do that Hindus must get rid the authority of Shastras and destroy them. They should start with ceasing superiority of brahamans.
                  Reply
                  1. F
                    Facts anyone
                    Jul 4, 2017 at 5:55 pm
                    lol you do not even know what hinduism is and you are spewing false statements from your posterior. Oops sorry your mouth. You need to know what actual hinduism is and that needs effort to read and understand the original scriptures. In today's hinduism, there is no brahminism. all these brahmans claiming to be superior are actually shudra's according to Hinduism. So what are you squawking about? classic case of Ardho ghato ghosh mupaiti nunam??
                2. S
                  Satyajeet Roy
                  Jul 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm
                  Congress and its ally must bring this issue to the public and aware dalits of such policy being taken by NDA.
                  Reply
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