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Thursday, 7 February 2013

[Marxistindia] Memorandum to FM on SCSP




marxistindia
news from the cpi(m)
February 7, 2013

Press Release



On the eve of budget session, a delegation of the CPI(M)  led by Basudev Acharia, leader of CPI(M) group in the Lok Sabha met the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today in his office at North Block.  The delegation submitted a memorandum urging allocation of Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan funds as per the guidelines stipulated by government of India.  To implement this, the delegation proposed a statutory status by enacting a central law on the lines of the recent law enacted by Andhra Pradesh State Assembly.  The Finance Minister told the delegation that he is aware of the Andhra Pradesh law and assured that he will look into the matter seriously.



The other members of the delegation were V. Srinivasa Rao, member of the Central Secretariat of CPI(M) and G. Mamatha.



We are herewith releasing the text of the memorandum.





(Hari Singh Kang)

For CPI(M) Central Committee office

_____________________________________________________________



Respected Sir,

We bring to your notice with grave concern the fact that the central government is not making the stipulated allocations for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan. Even in the budget for the year 2012-13, it had allocated just 7 %, against the mandated 16.2 % for SC Sub Plan. This goes against the guidelines of the Government of India of making allocations at least in proportion to the population of dalits. And even the meager allocations that are made, are not spent. There are reports that the shortfall in the SCSP this year may be up to Rs 26,000 crores. There are attempts to devise shortcuts to make up for the shortfall by including the expenditure that does not benefit SCs directly under the SCSP, like the expenditure purported to be shown under MGNREGA and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana programme.

Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) is a crucial initiative in closing the development gap between the Scheduled Castes and the others. Therefore, the government must provide statutory backing to the SCSP by enacting a suitable legislation to ensure its effective implementation.

A look at the over-all status of the Schedules Castes, even after 65 years of independence, gives us the picture why there is urgency in bringing in a legislation for the effective implementation of the SCSP.


Differences in Development Indicators between

SCs and other Social Groups



      Indicators
     SCs
     All groups

      Literacy (%)
     63.5
     72

      Malnutrition among Women (BMI<18.5) (%)
     41.2
     33

      Underweight Children (%)
     47.9
     39.1

      Pucca Housing (%)
     38.3
     66.1

      No Toilet Facility (%)
     65
     49.2

      Electricity for Domestic use (%)
     61.2
     75

      IMR ( per 1000 live birth)
     66.4
     50

      U5MR ( per 1000 live birth)

      Under 5 mortality rate
     88.1
     74.3

      Child Immunisation (%)
     39.7
     43.5

      Incidence of Poverty (Rural)
     20.6
     14.9

      Incidence of Poverty (Urban)
     25.3
     14.5




Source: India - Human Development Report 2011: Towards Social Inclusion, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, Planning Commission



SCs continue to be landless and assetless. In 2009-10, only about one third of SC households owned some assets. Only 11% of SC rural households owned private enterprises, when compared to 54.5% others. The SCs also lag behind in access to civic amenities. In 68% rural and 38% urban areas, the SC localities do not have proper drinking water facilities, compared with 49% and 20% for others. Access to higher education is also low; enrolment rate being 10 % compared with 25% for the others and the dropout rate is very high.



Thus, in term of access to assets, land, private enterprises, employment, education, drinking water, sanitation and housing etc, SCs suffer deprivation and consequently deeper levels of poverty. Added to this, SCs at many places continue to suffer untouchability, discrimination and caste based atrocities.



We therefore, request that in the forthcoming budget 2013-14, atleast 16.2% of the Plan outlays be allocated to the SCSP and measures must be taken to make it non-divertible and non-lapsable by ensuring a statutory status to it.



In Andhra Pradesh, as a result of the sustained movement, the state government has enacted a legislation providing statutory status to the SCSP. This is a first of its kind in our country. All though, it has some loopholes, it is a welcome legislation. The central government should enact such a legislation, with provisions to do away with the existing loopholes.



The government has introduced a policy of affirmative action in procurement. But, there is an unwritten policy against sanctioning loans to dalit applicants. Credit disbursements to dalit entrepreneurs had dropped by 33.8% in the last financial year, according to data released by the RBI. Unless the private enterprises owned by dalits are made profitable by providing them loans and marketing facilities, the said policy will not deliver the intended benefits.



There is government apathy in filling up the backlog vacancies for the SCs. The ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions headed by the prime minister himself, has said that the government's success rate in filling the backlog posts for SC, ST and OBCs has been less than 30 per cent. Of a total backlog of 76,137 vacancies in various ministries, departments and public sector enterprises, the government could fill up just 26,472 in an exercise spread over three years as part of the special recruitment drive. The government must make earnest efforts to fill up all the backlog posts for the SCs. The government must speed up the process to ensure reservation in promotions for SC, STs.

There is an alarming increase in the atrocities and attacks on SCs in the country. The conviction rate is abysmal. Dalits face many hurdles to even get the cases registered. In such a situation, there is an urgent need to amend the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, in order to plug the loopholes and strengthen it further to ensure social justice.



We therefore urge the government to implement the following measures:



MEASURES TO BE TAKEN:



  a.. Provide statutory status to SCSP by enacting a suitable Central legislation to enforce allotment to SCSP and the proper utilisation of the funds.


  a.. A proportion of the total Plan outlays of Centre and States,  at least equivalent to the proportion of SCs in the population at national and state level, should be set apart as Scheduled Caste Sub Plan before the Plan outlays are allocated to the Ministries/Departments


  a.. Place the funds earmarked for SCSP under a separate Minor Head '789' below the functional major head/sub-major heads to ensure their non-divertibility to any other scheme.


  a.. SCSP funds should be deployed to implement schemes with a clear objective of bridging the gap in socio-economic development of SCs with particular focus on education, income generation and access to basic amenities in SC localities


  a.. SCSP funds should be channelised only to such schemes where tangible benefits accrue to scheduled caste individuals or households or groups or localities. Schemes to secure greater access of  irrigated land, promotion of self employment schemes, and enterprise development to Scheduled castes should be formulated
.

  a.. SCSP/TSP funds to be made non-lapsable and non-divertible.


  a.. Residential schools for boys and for girls should be set up in each block in rural areas and similarly in urban areas. Pre-matric and post matric scholarships should be extended to support all students belonging to SCs. The granting of scholarships must be de-linked from the criterion of possessing Aadhar cards. The quantum of support should be enhanced to enable the students to access quality education.


  a.. A Nodal Agency to coordinate and monitor all departments must be set up.
  b.. Proper appraisal and approval mechanisms, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to oversee the use of funds must be developed. A special officer at district level with powers on par with magistrate should be appointed to ensure effective monitoring of the SCSP.


  a.. Social auditing should be done every year. A grievance redressal cell for time-bound redressal of complaints within three months should be set up.


  a.. The original name, "Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes" (SCP), which existed from 1978 till 2006 should be restored.




We hope you will seriously consider the above mentioned steps and take the country a step further in achieving social justice. The forthcoming Budget should give priority for the upliftment of dalits by providing the requisite allocations for the SCSP and providing statutory status to the SCSP.





Sd/-



(Basudev Acharia)

MP & Member Central Committee



(V Srinivasa Rao)

Member, Central Secretariat



(G. Mamata)

Member, CPI(M)
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