Need to eliminate historical injustice by providing a viable extent of agricultural land to SCs and STs

dalit adivasi land

Letter by PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd), former secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Welfare; and member, National Monitoring Committee for Education of SCs, STs and Persons with Disabilities, Government of India, to the Prime Minister regarding importance of immediately launching national centrally-funded programme of universal agricultural land-distribution to all rural SC families, and also all rural ST and non-SC-non-ST landless agricultural labour families with group minor irrigation, and stoppage of further deprivation of STs of their lands and restoration of their lost lands & related measures:

This is in continuation of my following two e-DO letters:

  • My e-DO letter dated 18. 12. 2018 regarding “Imperative Need to Enact National Legislation for “Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes (SCP) and Tribal sub-Plan (TsP) and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Authorities” in the Current Winter Session of Parliament in order to Enable SCs and STs to reach level of Equality in all Parameters, Allay widespread resentment among them, and in the interest of National Integration and Nation Unity”
  • M e-DO letter dated 20.12.2018 regarding other Important legislations which also need to be got enacted in the current Winter Session 2018

Apart from these legislations, certain important schemes/programs are required to bring about Equality for SCs and STs with the Socially Advanced Classes (SACs).  Of them, the most important is to remove the landlessness of SCs, which is an unfortunate legacy of our centuries-old Caste System-with-“Untouchability”, which has marred our otherwise glorious civilization.  It is necessary to eliminate this historical legacy by providing a viable extent of agricultural land to every rural SC family in a short period of one or two years.

This is possible if the methodology of the Task-Forces, one for each Taluk/Tehsil, I have mentioned in my Note at Annexure is adopted and implemented and it is within the administrative and financial competence of the Government of India, given the necessary political will and social determination. Apart from SCs, agricultural land has also to be provided to all ST and non-SC-non-ST rural landless poor agricultural labour families.

This universal land-endowment has to be accompanied by Group Minor Irrigation, also mentioned in my enclosed Note.

Adequate funds for these two crucial programmes will be available from the corpus of the SCP and TsP (mentioned in my e-DO letter to you dated 18.12.2018) if they are formulated in an SC&ST-relevant manner as explained in my Note at Annexure (attached to my e-DO letter to you dated 18.12.2018).

There is enough land with the Government to cover all rural SC families, as found by a Governors’ Committee, and enough land for non-SC rural landless agricultural labour families also, as brought out in a Report of a Working Group under my Chairmanship. Some of these lands are alkaline/saline, like the large extents of usar lands in Uttar Pradesh, and they can be reclaimed by available technology and MNREGA labour. These facts are also brought out in my Note in Annexure.

The overwhelming bulk of the SC and ST population reside in rural areas. Most of them have not reached the level of graduation or even matriculation, without which they cannot be eligible for reserved posts in the services.  Entrepreneurship also is at present beyond their reach.  Reservation is necessary and accessible to the limited number of educated persons among SCs and STs. Entrepreneurship is necessary and is within the reach of a limited number of SCs and STs. Both reservation and entrepreneurship should be continued and implemented more effectively than done so far.

But, for the masses of SCs, what will make a big difference and which is crucial to their traditional caste-based status is the total removal of their landlessness, with provision for irrigation of lands to be given to them. Similarly, what will make a big difference to STs is stoppage of the process of deprivation of their lands and restoration of their lost lands, with provision of irrigation for all their lands.

I had also written about this programme and its multifarious and tremendous cascading effects to the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) on 26.10.2017, with copies to the  Vice-Chairman and other Members of the Niti Aayog, keeping in view the correct finding of the Niti Aayog that much of the unemployment in the country is under-employment and low remuneration of which the rural SCs are the major example.  I expect that they would have also commended this programme to you.

The launching of this programme at the beginning of the new year 2019 will have an electrifying effect.

Click HERE for Krishnan’s Note in Annexure

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