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Diversion of SC/ST fund for other Purpose


‘Waiver to farmers stolen from Dalit, adivasi budget’
Don’t divert funds from budget’s SC, ST component, Dalit welfare NGOs appeal to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seems to be setting a new trend by diverting money meant for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the 2017-18 budget to provide loan waivers to farmers, drawing outrage from NGOs and activists.

On Monday, the Maharashtra government published a Government Resolution (GR) from the Tribal Development and the Cooperation, Textile and Marketing departments, stating that Rs 500 crore from the Scheduled Caste Component Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) was being released for farmers’ loan waiver under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Farmer’s Honour Scheme, 2017.

The GR from the Tribal Development department further says an amount of Rs 500 crore has been approved for loan waivers from the Textile department.

NGO Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan has called this a theft from the Dalit, adivasi budget. Advocate Priyadarshi Telang, convenor of the NGO, said: “It is interesting to note that no allocation was made to the Cooperation, Textile and Marketing department in the 2017-18 budget under the Special Component Plan (SCP) during the budget session in March. However, an outlay of Rs 500 crore to the Textile department in the revised estimate under SCSP 2017-18 is just to divert the amount meant for Dalits and adivasis.”

Astatement released by the NGO explained the technicalities: “For SCSP and TSP, an outlay of Rs 7,230 crore and Rs 6,574 crore was made during the budget session. The development plan proposed by the finance minister was of Rs77,184 crore, after merger of plan and non-plan. Ideally, Rs 9,108 crore and Rs 7,355 crore should have been allocated to Dalits and adivasis in proportion to their population of 11.8 and 9.4 per cent respectively.”

“Schemes of sub-plan are divided into state and district level. Outlay for state level scheme under SCSP is Rs 4,531 crore, but, according to the budget books, only Rs 3,602 crore has been allocated. Additionally, Rs 500 crore has been approved for waiving farmers’ loans.”

Dr Sanjay Dabhade, executive committee member, said: “No doubt, farmers’ loans should be waived, and Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan supports that demand, but funds from the Dalit and adivasi budget should not be diverted for this.”

In fact, there is a long-pending demand of loan waivers to Dalits from bodies like the Annabhau Sathe Corporation and the Mahatma Phule Corporation. The Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan strongly condemns the Devendra Fadnavis government for using sub-plans amounts for farmers’ loan waivers, Dabhade said.

Telang said that, in fact, the Maharashtra government should bring legislation on SCSP and TSP for Buddhists, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to have proper allocation of expenditure, and stop diversion.

Similar legislation has been enacted by Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. After the merger of plan and non-plan, Telangana has enacted new legislation called the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Special Development Fund (Planning, Allocation and Utilization of Financial Resources) Act, 2017.

“We want to assure that the funds for adivasis and Dalits will not be diverted. This is a temporary arrangement, and finally, the fund will be used for the original purpose,” Cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh said.

Funds for Dalits used to make film on Vadnagar: RTI

A documentary film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s native place Vadnagar or television advertisements about the Statue of Unity can probably bring much relief to the plight of Dalits and tribals in Gujarat.
It would seem so if the Gujarat government’s answers to RTI queries are to be believed.
An amount of ` 4 lakh was paid from the SC, ST Sub Plan funds for a film on Vadnagar while another Rs 1.86 crore was spent on television advertisements about the Statue of Unity being built on an island inside the Narmada river downstream of the dam of same name.  These pieces of information have come out in reply to Right to Information (RTI) queries filed by the Council for Social Justice (CSJ) which sought to know how the funds allocated for SC, ST Sub Plan have been spent on the welfare of these deprived classes.  In its bid to project a pro-Dalit image, the ruling BJP often reels out the figures of Budgetary allocations for the deprived classes like Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
But, the replies received by the CSJ in response to its RTI application reveal that much of the funds allocated for welfare of SCs and STs are being spent on projects which have nothing to do with them.
Film on Vadnagar and television advertisements for the Statue of Unity are not the only non-SC, non-tribal schemes on which funds from SC-ST Sub Plan allocation have been spent.
Gujarat Government’s fortnightly ‘Gujarat’, carrying an annual cover price but distributed free to many, is printed with a fund of Rs 1.30 crore from the allocation for SCs and STs while Rs 5 crore from the same fund have gone for television coverage of programmes like “Vikas Yatra”, “Sauni saath, sauni vikas”, “government’s achievements” and the like.
As the SCs constitute seven per cent of population and tribals another 14 per cent in Gujarat, the Government is obliged to allocate total 21 per cent of its Budget for welfare of these communities, points out Valjibhai Patel, secretary of CSJ.
“But the funds are spent on schemes which have nothing to do with welfare of these SCs and STs”, adds Valjibhai.
Listing out more instances of SC-ST Sub Plan funds being diverted to other schemes, Valjibhai points out that another Rs 1.20 crore has been spent on advertisements welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Gujarat in April last year.
Other expenses for which funds from the SC-ST Sub Plan have been diverted include Rs 1.56 crore for advertisements regarding Independence Day in 2017, Rs 1.46 crore for television advertisements of scrap iron pieces collection campaign for the Statue of Unity and many other projects which bring no welfare to the Dalits and tribals.
Most startling revelation is spending of Rs 22.48 lakhs from this fund on printing of three lakh pamphlets containing message from the Chief Minister regarding Garib Kalyan Mela in November last year, during the time the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in force in view of the assembly elections in December.
Valjibhai Patel has dashed off a letter to the State Vigilance Commission demanding proper investigation into the scam of diverting SC-ST welfare funds for other purposes that do not benefit the Dalits or tribals.
The 2017 Budget Is Taking SC/ST Welfare Backwards

A hoarding on the Budget 2017-18 put up at Parliament house in New Delhi on the day of the Budget presentation. Credit: PTI/ Manvender Vashist
A hoarding on the Budget 2017-18 put up at Parliament house in New Delhi on the day of the Budget presentation. Credit: PTI/Manvender Vashist
The Union Budget 2017-18 marks a paradigm shift in budgeting for the development of SCs and STs communities, not only with the merger of plan and non-plan categories but also by moving away from the sub-plan policy of a targeted budget.
Analysis of the Budget from a Dalit and Adivasi perspective reveals a drastic change in the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) component of the Budget, which have been replaced by ‘allocations for welfare of  Scheduled Castes’, under statement 10A, and ‘allocations for welfare of  Scheduled Tribes’, statement 10B. This move comes despite the suggestions of the chief ministers’ committee on the restructuring of centrally-sponsored schemes to bring the centrally-sponsored ‘Umbrella Schemes for Development of Scheduled Castes’ and ‘Umbrella Schemes for Development of Scheduled Tribe’ as ‘core to core’ schemes which are to be prioritised and sanctioned by legislation.
Analysis of the allocations under the SCSP the TSP reveals a recurring trend of under-allocation in 2017-18, wherein the SCSP comprises only 2.5% and the TSP only 1.53% of total allocations, which is not even the half of the mandated amount.
It is disheartening to see the anchoring role of ‘plan’ in the Budget for determining SCSP and TSP left in a limbo after the removal of the plan and non-plan categories. Clear instructions which were expected to ensure an efficient, transparent and accountable formula to sustain SCSP and TSP have not come from either the Ministry of Finance or the NITI Ayog.
The Ministry of Finance issued clear directions to all the relevant ministries/departments via GO No. F.1 (16)- B (AC/ 2011 dated August 23, 2016 to follow the Jadhav guidelines for allocations to SC/ST schemes. Post the plan and non-plan merger, using the directives of the ministry, Jadhav guidelines were supposed to be followed for calculating due allocations for SCs and STs for the current year. For previous year allocations, 16.6% of the plan budget amounts to Rs 91,386 crore as due allocation for SCs. This amounts to 4.62% of the total Budget expenditure. Similarly due allocation for STs amounts to Rs 47,276 crore, which equals to 2.32% of the total Budget expenditure. Taking this as the benchmark for allocation, in the 2017-18 Budget due allocations for SCs stood at 4.63% and STs at 2.39% of the total budgeted expenditure, which is Rs 96,638 crore for SCSP and Rs 49,992 crore for the TSP. But instead, in the Union Budget 2017-18, a total of Rs 44,246 crore for SCs and Rs 18,073 crore for STs has been denied by the central government.
Key highlights
  • The total Schemes for Scheduled Castes has been reduced from 294 to 256 only and the total schemes for Scheduled Tribes is brought down to only 261 from 307 in 2016-17. Only 11 new schemes for SCs and 8 new schemes for STs has been introduced in 2017-18.
  • Budget 2017-18 allocated Rs 52,393 crore for SCs and 31,920 crore for STs.
  • This amount is 2.50% of the total Budget estimate. The due amount as per Jadhav guidelines is equivalent to 4.25% if total Budget
  • Total of Rs 44,246 crore for SCs and Rs 18,073 crore for STs has been denied by the central government.
  • 1.19% of the total allocation for SC/STs has been allocated for SC women and 1.68% for ST women. Overall allocation for gender budget is only 0.99%.
Gender analysis
Women from Dalit and Adivasi communities find themselves triply discriminated against based on their caste/tribe, class and gendered location. Any developmental approach needs to factor in their needs by adequately redistributing resources in their favour as well as ensuring appropriate access to enhance their capabilities. In the current Budget, the Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan’s analysis shows, they continue to be marginalised within SC/ST allocations. It is shocking to calculate that the total allocation for Dalit-Adivasi women forms a meagre 0.99% of the total gender Budget statement. However, within the total allocation under the SC/ST welfare schemes, allocation for Dalit women amount to 1.19% within SC schemes and 1.68% for ST schemes.
Allocations for the northeast region
In the Union Budget of 2017-18, the total allocations for the development of the northeast region has been increased from Rs 32,180.08 crore to Rs 43244.64 crore, which is exclusive of TSP and SCSP allocations. In addition to this, a total of Rs 716 crore from the TSP and Rs 53 crore from the SCSP has also been allocated for the Ministry of Development for North East Region. But still, other than one single scheme for skill development, there has been no other new scheme introduced for the development of the northeast region. Our further analysis shows that there have been major budgetary cuts for the programme related to food and public distribution, electronics and information technology, environment, forest and climate change and urban development.
Several of the directly beneficial schemes for SCs and STs, like the National Scheduled Caste Finance Development Corp, venture capital fund for SCs, credit guarantee fund for SCs, self-employment of manual scavengers and rehabilitation of manual scavengers, national overseas scholarships for SCs and pre-matric scholarships for SC students have also either been severely under-funded or funding has been slashed.
A deeper analysis of the nature of allocation for SC welfare schemes show that only 53% of total SC allocation is towards targeted schemes, which in turn amounts to only 1.3 % of the total budget expenditure. The general or non-targeted schemes include employees pension scheme, improvement in salary scale of university and college teachers, and other administrative expenses which are contra to the underlying principle of “directly benefit individuals, families and hamlets belonging to SC/ST Community,” as stated by the Jadhav regulations.
Although this Budget shows an increase in the allocation in absolute terms, it is retrogressive step for the empowerment and welfare of SC/STs. Several allocations that are administrative in nature like salaries, interest payments, subsidies and pensions are merged into welfare schemes in the name of the plan and non-plan merger. The plague of a large proportion of non-targeted schemes continue. Merger of plan and non-plan categories has legitimised large-scale diversions of SC/ST funds to pensions, salaries and so on. Most of all, reducing the sub-plans for SCs and STs to mere allocations for SC/ST welfare is definitely going back at least three decades of planning for SC/ST development in this country. This is not just a name change but major policy shift which will have an irreversible detrimental effect on building an inclusive India.
N. Paul Divakar is general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and is an expert on fiscal matters with specific reference to the SCSP and TSP. Analysis and research has been done by the team at Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan-NCDHR.

Law mooted to curb misuse of SC/ST funds

To bridge the gap in development between the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and non-SCs and STs, a coalition of more than 150 organisations is demanding a national law to prevent, once and for all, the diversion, non-release, non-implementation and lapsing of the Special Component Plans for SCs/STs.
In response to the coalition’s longstanding demands, the National Advisory Council’s guidance and the letter Sonia Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister in 2011, the Centre has formed an inter-ministerial working group to come up with a Bill. One formal meeting has taken place and a draft is expected in the first week of May, according to Paul Divakar, convener of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights.
“This Act will re-establish the right of SC/STs to plan for themselves. The funds under the SCP that have for years been diverted to build flyovers, rubberised roads in Delhi, jails in Odisha, statues and other decorative things, need protection through legislation, which is very critical,” Mr. Divakar said.
A former Secretary to the government of India, P.S. Krishnan said these concepts had been accepted in writing by the government and “promises have been made for more than three decades now. It is a matter of urgency and will of the government to make it happen. If they want, it can be done in the current parliamentary session itself.”
Andhra Pradesh recently became the first State to have a law protecting the interests of the SCs and STs in budget allocation. The Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilisation of Financial Resources) Act, 2013, came into being on January 24.
Taking its cue from this, the coalition has suggested the setting up of a nodal agency or development authority for disbursement and appraisal of funds under the SCPs.
“Schemes and programmes shall have special focus on gender concerns with emphasis on empowerment of women, including girl-children. Besides, all children, youth, aged and people with disability and other vulnerable social identities within SCs and STs shall be considered on a priority basis. Schemes and programmes shall be included in, and funded from, the SCP which directly and exclusively benefit SC individuals, families, groups, habitations and institutions in order to fulfil the overarching objectives listed above,” suggests the legislation. It also proposes proper planning process for allocation, accounting norms for SCP, consultation with SC/ST communities and their representatives, transparency, incentives, penalties and parliamentary accountability.


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