2019-20 SC-ST budget allocation only for accounting purposes and not for real implementation

budget dalits

Excerpts from the chapter “Ministry / Department wise priority to schemes for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes” in the report “Dalit Adivasi Budget Analysis 2019-20”, published by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights-Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolon:

In the budget speech of 2017-18, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had introduced outcome-based monitoring for Schemes for welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribe and minorities. Subsequently the nodal ministries – Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs ( MoTA) launched E-utthaan, a monitoring portal to get real-time data of performance and outcomes for all ministries and departments.

These portals can become a useful tool for analyzing the approach and programme implementation strategy of all ministries/ departments, which are earmarked for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC & ST) communities. The two monitoring portals have improved budget transparency with regard to implementation and monitoring, but at the same time, it reveals very little in terms of nature of allocations, priorities of the schemes, planned outcomes or outputs.

Most importantly, the data represented on the portals are misrepresented or a mismatch with the official documents of the ministries. These technical impediments make it difficult to link the priorities and targets of the ministries to actual outcomes of any given scheme hence measuring the impact of program for SC & ST communities.

Education justice

According to U-DISE (Unified District Information System) 2016, 4,83,87,652 (19.11%) Scheduled Castes and 2,45,76,992 (9.71%) Scheduled Tribe students have enrolled in School Education (I-XII) Institutions. AISHE (All India Survey of Higher Education) 2018-193 states that 52,80,361 (14.41%) Scheduled Castes and 19,13,864 (5.22%) Scheduled Tribe students across the country have enrolled in higher education institutions.

To address this gap in school education as well as the higher education in the SC, ST Budgets, the Department of School Education has allocated Rs 10,257.92 crore for SCs and Rs 5,831.51 crore for STs, and the Department of Higher Education has allocated Rs 3,207 crore for SCs and Rs 1,605 crore for STs for the financial year 2019-20.

In this FY 2019-20, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the nodal ministry for scheduled castes has Rs 3,845.09 crore to be spent for education, whereas the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for scheduled tribes has allocated Rs 1,953.81 crore to ensure the educational justice for STs.

Among all the schemes for school education in FY 2019 -20, Samagra Shiksha Abhigyan has the highest allocation of which Rs 7,264.4 crore and Rs 4232.69 crore are exclusively committed for SCs and STs respectively. In this entire Budget, for the Higher Education of SCs and STs, there are only two major schemes each.

  1. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs have Post Matric Scholarships, which is a benchmark scheme to access higher education. It has given an allocation Rs 2,926.82 crore for SCs and Rs 1,613.5 croreore for STs in FY 2019-20).
  2. The other set of Schemes are through UGC which offers various fellowships and scholarships for PhD, Post-Doctoral courses, has continuously decreased from 2014-15 to this year from Rs 602.85 crore to Rs 283 crore for SCs and Rs 439.03 crore to Rs 135 crore for STs.

In addition to the decrease in allocations, if we further unpack these schemes, and look at the nature of the scheme, they are general schemes and do not focus on the SCs and STs. They are not sufficiently planned to target for SCs and STs in the Annual Work Plans nor are they monitored to count the number of the SC, ST students that are being reached through these schemes.

This clearly shows it is allocated only for accounting purposes and not for real implementation. When we examine the approved budget and the utilised budgets, it is shocking to see that UGC spends about 55% of its approved budgets to schemes for SC, STs. This is a gross violation of the Finance Ministry of SC, ST Budget guidelines issues. If this is the fact for the education schemes, then in most of the other schemes, the reality could be far worse.

Land related scheme

As a lifeline, land plays a vital role in the life of SCs and STs mainly because they are agricultural workers and small-marginal landholders. The agriculture census of 2015-16 shows that scheduled castes operate in less than 9% and scheduled tribe in less than 11% of the country’s total agricultural land. From the same sources, it is also visible that the average size of operational land holding among SC and ST are 0.78 and 1.41 (in hectare), respectively.

Related to land, the 2019-20 Union Budget has provided only two schemes for SC, STs with an allocation of Rs 367.86 crore under SCC and Rs 221.60 crore under STC, respectively. The largest Scheme under SC, ST budget is the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisann) of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare which is Rs 12,450 crore for SCs and Rs 6450 crore for ST. This indeed is a great programme.

However, when we unpack this scheme, it has no targets for SC nor STs which is therefore only on paper accounting purpose with a mask of SC, ST budgets and has neither mechanisms to deliver to SCs nor STs. This is a denial of funds and diversion at the conception itself. On the ground level, the total percentages of SCs and ST’s casual labour (agriculture and non-agriculture) are 52.6% and 38.3 % while other social groups composed of only 21.6%.

Keeping the situation in mind, the Government should ensure the enhancement in the budget in access to land, not as general scheme, but a clear targeted scheme especially for SCs and STs. It will be good if the Income Support Schemes is re-designed with clear and strict guidelines and mechanisms for ensuring its access by SCs and STs. Otherwise, it will continue to be a denial to SC and STs and a continuing mirage.

Manual scavenging

One of the most demeaning practices that exist in the world is manual scavenging which continues unabated and the government does not show or seem serious enough to eliminate this completely. The legislation for the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation, 2013 does not take into account the cases, compensation and punishment in cases of sewer deaths.

It is a mandate of the National Commission for Safai Karamchari (NCSK) to conduct survey and document data from all states on the number of deaths since 1993. The latest annual report available from NCSK is of the year 2015-16 which states that ‘no person died in Sewerage work since 1993.

It is also mentioned that no sewer death has been reported by the local bodies i.e. EDMC, SDMC, NDMC, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Jal Board and, similarly, many other states have submitted similar responses. However, the total number of deaths recorded by the NCSK across India from 1993 to 2018 amounts to 676.

Despite the national legislation on prohibition and rehabilitation of manual scavengers, there are constant lapses in the fund allocation and its disbursal. An amount of Rs 70 crore was allocated in FY 2018-19 under the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers; however, this year Rs 110 crore has been allocated under this scheme.

Funds allocated under the scheme continue to remain on the government documents and do not reach the beneficiaries. Data from RTI reveals that for the FY 2015- 16, Rs 36 crore was allocated for manual scavengers’ rehabilitation was left unused, whereas for the year 2017-18, Rs 24 crore remained unutilized, and not a single amount of money has been utilized until September 22, 2017.

Atrocities against the community

The latest National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) data available is of the year 2016 which reveals that 40,801 cases of crimes against Scheduled Castes and 6,568 cases of crimes against the Scheduled Tribes are registered reported and the charge-sheets were filed in around 78.3%. From the statistics it can be noted that there is decline in cases reported over a period of three years.

The rate of charge-sheet has continued to remain high across the period of three years. Though, the rates of conviction in the cases of crimes against scheduled castes have increased in the above-mentioned period. The total number of cases up for investigation including previous year’s cases amounts to 56,299 of the SCs and 9096 of the STs.

Cases in which trial were completed by 2016 are recorded to be 14,615 cases of the Scheduled Castes and 2,895 cases of the Scheduled Tribes. Out of 14,615 cases, only 3,753 cases resulted in conviction of the accused and a total of 10862 cases resulted in acquittal of the criminals. Total number of cases pending for trials by the end of the year 2016 amounts to 129831 cases and the data also clearly signals higher rate of atrocities against Dalit women and minor girl children with crimes such as rape, abduction and kidnapping are on the rise targeting Dalit women.

In FY 2018-19, the fund of Rs 403.72 crore was allocated and for the FY 2019-20, a fund of Rs 530 crore has been allocated under the Department of the Social Justice & Empowerment for the Strengthening of Machinery for Enforcement of Protection of Civil Rights Act 1995 and Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989.

With clear evidences which are the proof of delay in delivering justice and increase in cases of crimes against the SC & ST, with low conviction rate, high pendency rate, limited number of Special Courts & Public Prosecutors it is essential for the state to not only allocate more funds but also fulfill the mandates provided under the Act, invest in mechanisms like establishment of Exclusive Special Courts & Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors that are necessary for strengthening & ensuring better implementation of PCR and PoA Act which act as a watershed for the Dalit Adivasi community.

Adequate preventive measures to address violence in the atrocity prone district are absent.

Child rights

Children, despite constituting 29.50% (0-14 years) of the total population, remain one of the most neglected categories by the public financial planners. The total budget allocated for the welfare of children to various departments under Statement12 on ‘Allocation for the Welfare of Children’ is Rs 91644.29.crore, which was Rs79090.35 crore in FY2018-19 Budget.

In the Full Union Budget 2019-20, 3.28% out of total budget expenditure has been allocated for the welfare of children under various departments, marking 15.87% increase compared to the FY 2018-19.

However, a deeper analysis of the Government schemes for children under the Scheduled Caste Component (SCC) and Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) shows that there are only 20 schemes under SCC and 16 schemes under STC which are related to child welfare. The government has announced a total amount of Rs 17,920.92 crore for children’s welfare SCC and Rs 10 881.7 crore under the STC of the Full Budget 2019-20.

The overall percentage of allocation for SC children’s welfare against the total of SCC is 22.03% and for ST children, it is 20.58% out of total expenditure of STC. According to the Full Union Budget 2019-20 allocations, ‘Direct Allocations’ for SC and ST children is 79.19% and 82.05% respectively.

From the fact mentioned above, it is clear that there are still deficit of almost 20% allocation for the children in the allocation phase. It will be warm approach if the government can increase the targeted schemes allocation.

Click HERE to download full report


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