Union budget’s sizable gap: Rs 1,14,717 crore for Dalit schemes, Rs 54,676 crore for Adivasi schemes


Excerpts from the Dalit Adivasi BudgetAnalysis 2018-19, by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights-Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan:

Scheduled Castes (Dalits/SC) and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis/ST) are communities who have experienced historical marginalisation resulting in denial of their due share in economic resources, developmental benefits and basic entitlements necessary for a decent living. As a result of caste-based discrimination, ethnicity, gender face social exclusion perpetuated by the dominant class as a result of which they fare the poorest on all socio-economic indicators vis-à-vis structural impediments, find it difficult in accessing developmental benefits.

As a step towards addressing these increasing inequalities between SC/ST and other dominant class, the government in its fifth-five year plan (1974-75) introduced the policy of Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) and Special Component Plan (SCP) in the sixth five year plan (1979-80). SCSP/TSP has been formulated as a mechanism for allocating development plan fund for SCs and STs across Central Ministries and all departments in the state in proportion to the SC/ ST population. Allocations under these plans were mandated to be in proportion to the population.

In the FY 2017-18, the government merged the Plan and Non-Plan components of the Budget. Further the SCSP-TSP was renamed as Schemes for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes2 and Schemes for the Welfare of Scheduled Tribes respectively. As per the Budget Circular of 2017-18, Jadhav Guidelines, which clearly detail the allocations for SC, are to be followed. \

After the budget restructuring in 2017-18, total scheme expenditure was allocated under two categories i.e Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Central Sector Schemes (henceforth CS and CSS). Both these pertain to developmental Outlays. Through a Budget Circular 2018-19, Finance Ministry has issued an Office memorandum directing a formula for allocation of resources under SCC and STC5, taking part of the Jadhav Committee guidelines. Out of the Outlay, of CS and CSS the SCs and STs are entitled to a minimum, and not less than their proportionate population, which according to Census 2011 is 16.6% for SCs and 8.6% for STs.

The total Budget Estimate for 2018-19 is Rs. 24,42,213.30 Cr, out of that the total Outlay for eligible CS and CSS amounts to Rs.8, 63,944 Cr. For SC and ST the due allocation amount to Rs. 1,43,414.74 Cr and Rs. 74,299.20 Cr respectively. The allocation however for SCC and STC is Rs 56, 619 Cr and Rs39,135Cr respectively. Examining this further, the targeted schemes under SCC amounts to only Rs. 28, 697.74Cr and under STC amounts to Rs 19,623Cr. The total gap in schemes for SC is Rs. 1,14,717 Cr and for ST is Rs. 54676 Cr. This amounts to a sizeable proportion, for which schemes have to be innovated that is relevant for bridging the gap between SC/ST and others.

Education Schemes

The budget 2018-19, has allocated Rs.3000Cr under SCC 4 and Rs.1586Cr under STC towards Post-Matric Scholarship scheme for SCs & STs. This is a key scheme to ensure access to education by the students from the community. In response to questions raised by MPs in the recent session of the Parliament more than Rs.8,000 Cr were outstanding in all states due to inadequacy of funds.

51,03243 SC and 20,33,741 ST students across the country are facing many difficulties and challenges due to pending/outstanding fund of more than Rs.8000 Cr 8000 Cr and Rs 3156 Cr. to SC and ST students by the Union Government to the state governments over last three consecutive years. Resulting in discontent among students, increasing dropouts and many are even debarred from private institutions.

Land related schemes

Official data sets shows that SCs are landless or marginal landholders and the trend continues even today. According to NSSO data for 2009–10, 92.1% of SCs in rural areas are landless or own landholdings of one hectare or less followed by 76.5% ST households12 . This has forced SCs into casual and agricultural or non-agricultural labourers, constituting according to NSSO (2012) data, 59% amongst SCs and 46.5% amongst STs. According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, there was a substantial increase in the number of women performing various roles in the agricultural sector. The budget should have made adequately to ensure enhanced access to resources.

However, the document fails to mention and acknowledge the realities of SC-ST women agricultural labourers and landowners. Allocation in the year 2018-19, towards land related schemes amount to Rs.415.17 Cr under SCC and Rs.250.10 Cr under STC. All these schemes are silent on ownership patterns and needs of SC-ST agricultural labour and are non-direct in nature.

Manual Scavenging

Those engaged in manual scavenging are given one time compensation, with little to no efforts being made towards ensuring access to decent livelihoods by those engaged in manual scavenging. Rs.20 Cr were allocated in the Union Budget 2018-19 towards the rehabilitation of manual scavengers. The allocation under the National Safai Karamchari Finance Development Corporation has been reduced from Rs. 45 Crs to Rs 30 Crs. This is hardly sufficient to achieve the objective of abolition of Manual Scavenging in this country.

Gender Budget Analysis

The discrimination of family, caste/ethnicity, class and gender often places the Dalit and Adivasi women in a marginalised and vulnerable position. Despite forming 50% of the Dalit and Adivasi community, women from these communities haven’t gained much from the development experience. The recently released Economic Survey 2018-19, though highlighted the gender question by locating gender ineqaulity as a multi-dimensional issue, it ignored the important question of intersectionality of caste and ethnicity.

‘Gender sensitive’ nature of Economic Survey did not translate into budgetary allocations for women with miniscule amounts for SC and ST women. Allocations under GBS constitutes 4.99% of the total Budget Expenditure, while those for SC and ST women forms only 1.03% of the total Gender Budget Statement (henceforth GBS)14 which amounts to Rs.121961.32Cr. Specific allocations for SC and ST women, under MSJE and MoTA respectively, amounts to 0.53% and 0.49% of the GBS respectively. While allocation towards welfare of ST women saw an increase of 0.04%, those towards SC remained the same.

Analysis of GBS of Union Budget 2018-19 reveals that 72.64% and 39.09% of allocations under MSJE and MoTA have been made towards education16. Further while on the one hand, allocations towards National Safai Karamchari Finance Development Corporation saw a sharp fall from Rs13.45Cr in 2017-18 to Rs.9Cr in 2018-19 for the women specific schemes. On the other hand, allocations under ‘Self Employment scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers’ saw a significant increase from Rs.1.50Cr in 2017-18 to Rs6Cr in 2018-19.

Under Part-A that allocated 100% under the scheme, scheme titled Maternity Benefit is getting an allocation of Rs.2400 Cr which is a general scheme with no physical or financial outlays for SC and ST women. Our analysis of GBS reveals that allocations aimed at the development of SC/ST women are introduced only by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA). There are almost negligible allocations by other key Ministries/Departments. Ironically, under Ministry of Women and Child Development (henceforth MWCD), there is no specific scheme addressing the needs of SC and ST women in the country.

*Click HERE to read the full report

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