It is obligatory for the Gujarat government to allocate seven per cent of the total budget for the development and welfare of the scheduled caste (SC) population in Gujarat. This is mandatory under the guidelines issued by the Planning Commission of India, which wants every state government to make budgetary allocation for SCs equal to the proportion of the Dalit population. As a result of the failure of the Gujarat government to allocate the amount equal to Gujarat’s Dalit population (seven per cent), the Gujarat government allocated Rs 6,319 crore lesser amount than what should have actually been budgeted for the last eight years (2007-08 to 2013-14) for the welfare and development of the SCs.
At the same time, an examination into the special component plan of the SCs between 2001 and 2014 suggests that the Gujarat government has failed to spend even the amount it allocated for the Dalits’ welfare and development. In all, Rs 3,689.69 crore remained unspent for these years.
If one takes together the two figures — (a) the less amount which should have been budgeted under the Planning Commission guideline, which comes to Rs 6319 crore from 2007-08 to 2013-14, and (b) the unspent amount against the actual budget allocation, which comes to Rs 3689.69 crore — there is reason to ask: Why was Rs 10,008.69 crore remained unspent?
The Gujarat government has the following questions to answer:
- Why does it not allocate funds for the Dalits in accordance with the guidelines of the Planning Commission of India?
- Why is it ineffective in spending cent per cent amount meant for the development of the Dalits?
- Why does it fail to allocate funds for the Dalits under the code 789, as stipulated by the Planning Commission, which would make it obligatory for the Gujarat government’s department to spend them for the welfare of the Dalits?
- By refusing to spend Rs 10,008.69 crore, meant for Gujarat’s 45 lakh Dalits, hasn’t the Gujarat government been unjust to the Dalits?
- Why does the Gujarat government refuse to call the mandatory meeting every year to discuss the financial allocation under the SC special component plan? Ever since Narendra Modi took over power in October 2001, only two meetings were held – the last one in 2004,
- Why has the Gujarat government stopped building Ambedkar Bhawans, despite the announcement made about it by the Gujarat chief minister?
- Hasn’t Gujarat government insulted the memory of Dr BR Ambedkar by not allocating any funds for the construction of Ambedkar Bhawan between 2010 and 2013?
* Senior activist, Navsarjan Trust