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Thursday 31 January 2013

Plan panel recipe to bridge SC/ST fund crunch may cut funds

Plan panel recipe to bridge SC/ST fund crunch may cut funds

Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi Jan 31, 2013, 00:29 IST

It has been alleged the Planning Commission and the 12th five-year Plan would legitimise diversion of money meant for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST).

In the 12th Plan document, the Planning Commission had come up with a proposal to bridge the shortfall in allocations for the SC/ST special component plans by various ministries. However, the proposal didn’t suggest ways to bridge the shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore for the SC sub-plan; it suggested a mechanism to do away with the shortfall. The Plan document suggested the funds for SC/ST plans be linked with the consumption data of the two communities. Through this, the shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore in the SC sub-plan for 2012-13 is reduced to shortage of a mere Rs 3,641.84 crore. If this method is used, one also finds there is no shortage of allocations for the ST sub-plan. The commission credits a task force headed by member Narendra Jadhav for coming up with this formula.
·                     Rs 26,000 crore previous estimate of shortfall in SC allocations in 2012-13
·                     Rs 3,641.84 crore shortfall in SC allocations using Plan panel working group formula
·                     Rs 37,113.03 crore allocated in Budget 2012-13 for SC sub-plan 
·                     12% of country’s consumption expenditure is accounted for by SCs

This new method of calculation effectively ensures the government isn’t blamed of diverting funds meant for SC/ST categories to other segments; it also reduces the funds set aside for SC/ST categories. In Budget 2012-13, funds allocated for the SC sub-plan stood at Rs 37,113.03 crore. However, if this would have been calculated on the basis of the fact that about 16.2 per cent of the overall population are SCs (allocations towards SCs/STs are aligned with their population, which is about 16.2 per cent of the overall population), it would have stood at Rs 63,346.37 crore (16.2 per cent of the general Budget support).

According to National Sample Survey Organisation data, 12 per cent of the country’s consumption expenditure is accounted for by SCs. So, 12 per cent of the consumption expenditure, 12 per cent of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme allocation and 12 per cent of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana expenditure adds up to Rs 22,591.50 crore. Therefore, the shortfall stood at just Rs 3,641.84 crore, the commission concluded. Initially, the shortfall stood at about nine times this amount.

Though Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja had raised the issue of reduced funding for SC/ST special component plans with the Planning Commission in December, the document remains unchanged. Officials in the ministry said they had received an assurance the commission would look into the matter. However, they weren’t aware of any changes yet, said a ministry official.

Planning Commission member Narendra Jadhav said the Plan document was being revised. But he refused to comment on whether the proposal on a shortfall in the special component plan would be dropped or altered. “Wait for ten days,” he said.

The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights ( NCDHR), which has released annual reports on the diversion of funds meant for SC/ST categories by various ministries, has condemned the proposal in the Plan document. NCDHR’s Paul Divakar says, “If this proposal is carried out, all the diversion by ministries over the last 25 years would be justified. It would also nullify the very existence of the special component plan, thus going back to the 70s, when none existed.”

The SC/ST special component plans were brought out in the 70s, after the government and the Planning Commission felt development funds weren’t helping the SC/ST categories. Then, it was decided 7.5 per cent of the government spending would be set aside for SCs/STs, said activists of the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability.

The Times Of India

Polls in sight, govt revives plan for SC/ST residential school

By Naziya Alvi Rahman, TNN | Jan 31, 2013, 06.25 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Keeping an eye on the 2013 assembly polls, Delhi government is all set to revive its proposal of building a first of its kind residential school for SC/ST/OBC/minorities' students.

According to a source, 50% seats will be reserved for SC students, 25% for OBC and 25% for minority students. The proposal had got shelved last year and is likely to be put up for clearance before the cabinet on Thursday evening. The residential school would come up in Ishapur in Najafgargh in southwest Delhi by the department of welfare of SC/ST/OBC/ minorities, in association with Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar.

The city government, said a source, will provide the requisite infrastructure and has already identified an existing school premises at Ishapur for renovation by the PWD. The renovation specifications will be provided by KISS — which would also manage the school. At present, KISS runs the biggest residential institute for tribal children in South Asia.

Meanwhile, the cabinet is likely to clear a proposal to install fire fighting equipments in 440 government schools.

The Hindu

34 Vajpayee schools for Dalits, OBCs, minorities

T. S. Ranganna
The Department of Social Welfare will set up 34 Atal Bihari Vajpayee Modern Residential English-medium Schools for children in classes 6 to 12 from the next academic year. These are completely funded by the State government.

The two years of pre-university classes will have only science subjects for boosting the morale of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and minorities to take up professional courses such as medicine and engineering.

Speaking to The Hindu, Principal Secretary E. Venkataiah said that the government wants to run these schools on the lines of the Navodaya model schools.

While Scheduled Castes will get 50 per cent reservation, it will be 25 for Scheduled Tribes. OBCs and minorities will get 12.5 per cent each. The departments of Social Welfare, Backward Classes and Minority Affairs are funding the schools.

Students in Morarji Desai Residential Schools for boys and Kittur Rani Channamma Schools for girls in the State, funded by the Union government, are taught both in English and Kannada mediums. There are 542 of them — 268 Scheduled Castes, 60 Scheduled Tribes, 53 minorities and 161 OBCs. Students who complete SSLC here are admitted to pre-university courses set up in the district headquarters.

He said that school complexes would be built on an area of 15-20 acres spending Rs. 128 crore in all. The deputy commissioners had been asked to allot land and if it was not available, they would acquire it.

In addition to the 20 schools approved to be set up in six districts of Gulbarga division, it was decided to add eight more. Two schools each would be started in three divisions, including Mysore and Bangalore, in the coming academic year. Each school would have two sections of 40 students each.

The Times Of India

Jind councilor, husband and son held for dalit's murder

TNN | Jan 31, 2013, 06.53 AM IST

ROHTAK: Police have arrested Jind municipal councilor Ram Ratti, her husband Darshan and their son Bhupinder in the murder case of a dalit woman over a land dispute.

The accused had attacked Mahlo Devi and her husband Tara Chand after barging into their house on Sunday evening. The two parties had a long running dispute over property.

Mahlo's son alleged that the accused wanted the family to evacuate the plot on which they were living. IGP, Hisar, had suspended the Narwana city SHO and investigation officer in the case and formed a special investigation team to look into the matter.

The Times Of India

Dalit outfits protest Ramadoss' visit

TNN | Jan 31, 2013, 05.02 AM IST

TUTICORIN: A functionary of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) tried to immolate himself in protest against the visit of PMK founder S Ramadoss to Tuticorin on Wednesday.

The VCK functionary along with several others were arrested for staging a protest. In Tirunelveli too, more than 190 people affiliated to various dalit organisations were arrested for staging a protest against Ramadoss.

Ramadoss had visited Tuticorin and Tirunelveli to participate in a meeting of 'anaithu samuthaya kutamaippu,' a federation of various intermediate caste groups, that was primarily floated with the agenda of opposing inter-caste marriage. VCK, as well as various other dalit outfits, including Athi Tamilar Peravai, Tamil Puligal and Devendra Kula Mahajana Sangam had demanded that Ramadoss should not be allowed to enter the districts. They also threatened to stage protests if he visits.

Anticipating trouble, a large posse of police was deployed in the two towns. In Tirunelveli, the protestors burnt the PMK flag in front of a hotel where Ramadoss was staying. Meanwhile, a group of protestors attempted to barge into the hotel. Another group of agitators staged a black flag protest near the bus stand. All the protestors were held.

In Tuticorin, Tamil Pari, the Tiruchendur union secretary of VCK doused kerosene on him and attempted to immolate self, but was prevented by the police. Some of the shops were also closed during the protests but were opened later.

Asian Age

Dhasal held for illegal protest

Jan 31, 2013 |

Noted poet, writer and founder of Dalit Panther, Namdev Dhasal was arrested on Wednesday after he “unlawfully” protested outside the state’s secretariat Mantralaya.
The Dalit leader, along with dozens of his supporters, protested and demanded the immediate arrest of author Ashis Nandy, whose recent statement on backward communities raised a nationwide controversy. Twenty supporters were also arrested by the Marine Drive police.

Acording to the police, on Wednesday afternoon, Dhasal and his supporters gathered outside Mantralaya’s uut gate with placards and started shouting slogans. “Dhasal and his supporters were demanding Mr Nandy’s immediate arrest. Soon, they tried to burn effigies, so we took them into custody and brought them to the police station. They were booked for unlawful assembly and shouting slogans and then placed under arrest,” said Rajendra Patil, inspector, Marine Drive police station.

Author and socialist Ashis Nandy had recently made a controversial statement at Jaipur Literary Festival and said “most corrupt people come from the OBC, SC and ST communities”.

.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of “Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC”)

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