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National Consultation on Dalit Economic Rights

by udaya — last modified 2009-04-06 14:24

 Report  on National Consultation on Dalit Economic Rights

 NCDHR organized a National Consultation on  Dalit Economic Rights on 18 & 19 of October 2007 at CISRS Delhi . The activists from NCDHR and other NGOs participated in this.
What are Dalit Economic Rights and SCSP?
Christo Das Gandhi  , secretary to Social Welfare  department Tamilande  said that the indivisible principle  adopted by certain   ministries /departments like  Energy, Road, Transport, Communication  was totally unacceptable . These sectors according to him get 80% of the total Budget allocation and if they don’t develop the divisible schemes for Dalits then how it could be effective After al these years of its inception  a full allocation  was never made by either the central govt or state  governments .After twenty five years only  few departments or ministries allocate SCSP  shows the lacunas in the whole process.. Why government was reluctant to   allocate the share, which is their constitutional right. The same govt  which denies unconstitutionally  25000 crores to dalits in 2007-08 Union Budget provides a  tax exemption of Rs.3 lakh crores to private sectors.
He also took serious exception on the developmental schemes adopted by government under SCSP allocations. These schemes and programme didn’t empower dalits in real sense but they were to maintain status quo. There is no thinking and no vision.
 He  also opined that  if  the government gave  more attention to  higher education the whole life of dalit community would  change in ten years. If they got good technical and professional education their return to the nation and their community would be immense.  ‘ Instead there is focus on issues whose returns is little like Indira Awaits Yozana which gives 37000 rupees to build a house. Then humblest house takes more than this amount and it provides no opportunity to generate income also. In the place if government provides ownership of institutions, or scholarships to student they could be self-reliable and contribute to the economy. So the real task should be to create more doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
The real task ahead for the NGOs is to do research and come out with the plan of expenditure and present it to the government. They should evolve an alternate budget for the Departments, which do not have divisible schemes, and this way schemes for Dalits should be developed. He concluded with the note that the major thrust of SCSP should be on higher education and institutional ownership.
Dalits and positive discrimination in MNCs
Walter, Germany, IDSN
He explained that they were advocating the agenda of affirmative action for dalits in the German multi national companies. These companies always hold that there is no positive discrimination and caste system. But we proved how caste was practiced in companies. We emphasized that if Dalits were not part of their company then they couldn’t get better benefits of market, the agenda was taken up with the SIEMENS and others.
Dalits and Union Budget 2007-08

Deepak Xavier, CBGA Center for Budget and Governance Accountability 
Economic rights and caste system are inter linked and unless we raise the issue of economic rights the dalits cant come out of oppression and deprivation. He showed the poor budget allocation under SCSP in Union Budget 2007-08, he said. He told that the number of departments who have allocated SCSP was increased to 15 but still many were left. He also pointed out that while the defence budget has gone up there was no allocation in agriculture for dalits as if dalits were not farmers. It is not the lack of money but the lack of political wills in Indian government that they are not taking SCSP seriously, he added. He concluded it with a question whether we could afford double standards .

Strategies for Dalit Economic Rights
Father Manu
He told that realization of SCSP needed  continuous struggle and  strategy.
The strategy on budget should be based on the following
One group- there should be at least one organization, which will lead the whole budget research and advocacy
1. One researcher- Budget is whole data exercise and  in relation with other economic issues so there should be at least one researcher whose task is to go through the budget books and other issues.
2. Bureaucrats- bureaucrats can play substantial role as they are the one who knows the inside stories and the best strategy. In Tamil Nandu we got momentum because we had people like Gandhi and Sivagami without them we could not achieve anything.
3. Politicians – the linkages with MLAs and MPs are crucial, We worked for 15 years but no one knew SCSP it was never discussed until a dalit MLA raised it in Tamil Nandu Assembly  He  wanted  a dalit budget  , thus SCSP became public and every one start talking about it. So advocacy and engagement with politician can only fuel the movement.
Strategies shared by the state representatives 
Madhya Pradesh 
The organization, which is taking up the issue of Dalit Economic Rights in MP is Samarthan which identifies Dalit Organisations/networks and work s collectively on the issue. 
· Researching and analyzing on Budgetary Provisions
· Building awareness among the Panchs and Sarpanchs through the network Panchayatraj Mahasang,
· Media advocacy through publication of Samarthan.
· Monitoring NREGA and Relief and Rehabilitation provided under SC/ST PoA
· Advocacy and Lobbying with MLAs/MPs
NCDHR state chapter will take up the issue of Dalit Economic Rights in UP
· Researching and analyzing on SCSP allocation
· Awareness building on SCSP among MLAs
· Organizing State consultation
· Filing of PIL about non implementation of SCSP
· Lobbying with political parties and MLAs
· Issues identified to monitor
· Health – Integrated Child Development Scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojana
· Education- Mid day meal, Quality of Education, Land- Housing, NREGA
· Reflections
o It was discussed how to use UP government to influence SCSP
o A High level team could be formed in preparing alternate budget and the same could be replicated in other states
o Cadre building and training them on Dalit economic Rights
o Audio Visual programme program on SCSP
The contact organization in Karnataka is HRFDL-KA and Mr. Basavaraj would be the contact person and the issue could be addressed in collaboration with other Budget analysis groups in Karnataka. 
o Research and analysis on SCSP
o Preparing Alternate Budget for Dalits
o Ensuring Single window system in implementation of SCSP
o State level convention –Economic agenda of Dalits
o Monitoring the implementation of the schemes and programmes at panchayat level
o Strong agitation and protest regarding non implementation of SCSP
o Monitoring of schemes like-Land - Ganga kalyan Yojana- Irrigation, Hostels for SC students, Devadasi rehabilitation,
o Formation of a committee on Dalit economic Rights with Ex-IAS, IPS, Ex-MLA, Dalit Phd Student, Movement leader, panchayat president (M/W), Lawyer, dalit women leader 
· Using RTI a study on Panchayatraj will be done
· The study results will be shared among the NGOs in Gujarat
· State level mobilization will be done to sensitize the mass on the issue
· Budget analysis and monitoring the implementation of schemes
All the efforts on Dalit Economic Rights should be done through Dalit Organizations like Navsarjan Trust should be linked with the local Dalit Organizations 
Vikalp is the key contact organisation in Orissa and Prasanth is the contact person to take up the Dalit Economic Rights
· Budget analysis and identifying the Gaps in implementation of SCSP
· Using publications to bring awareness among the public
· Monitoring the quality of education, mid day meal programme and Health issues
In Maharashtra along with NCDHR state chapter Dalit Vikas Parishad- Dalit headed organizations’ network  will support in mass mobilization and other advocacy efforts. Ranjith state coordinator of NCDHR will be the primary contact. An advisory group will be formed with experts from different fields.  Samarthan,  an organisation working on Budget analysis will  be made use in accessing budget documents. Maan Vika abhiyan could also be linked while taking up the issues in Martwada region. 
- Analysis of Budget
- Consultation in Oct-Nov- on Budget analysis, Hostel issues
- Case studies of beneficiaries on Swabhiman Yojana( waste land, panchami land)
- Agitation at state level and followed by that meeting the representatives
- Meeting ruling and opposition parties to address the issue
- During winter session- addressing the implementation of swabiman yojana scheme
- Pre budget,  Post budget lobbying
- National level- campaign for 3 days on Land rights
Safai Karamchari Andolan
SKA has agreed to
o take responsibility to work on Dalit Budgeting and Advocacy
o Monitor the schemes for Rehabilitation of manual scavengers Track the spending of 3000 crores which is allotted for Manual scavengers rehabilitation and Evolving Schemes for it
o  Prepare alternate Budget for SK and linking up with SCSP
o  Recruit one person at National level committed for the task
Dalit Samanwaya will take responsibility of anchoring Dalit Budgeting in Bihar. It will call other organizations to broaden the base. The name of the point person will be discussed in their meeting ,  as for now Ghanshyam will be the contact person.
· Identifying Dalit MP/MLAs, bureaucrats, academicians, journalist and others
· Sensitization and orientation of these people
· Collection of relevant documents
· Workshops, seminars and consultation
· Grass root cadre development
· Action research on issue based issues and placing of demands to the departments
· Rallies at sate level
· Alternate budget
· Analysis of budget and report preparation
Bihar is doing concrete work on flood so if it links it with SCSP that will be  a very nouveau attempt.
Satish, CDR will be the focal person in Rajasthan. He will organize meeting of like-minded groups and evolve Rajasthan state budget network. The strategies will be discussed in that meeting. Rajasthan will monitor the schemes of SC/ST POA Act, ICDS and others.
National Secretariat
· Analysis of Union Budget
· Preparation of Alternate Budget
· Scheme development for indivisible allocations
· Coordination with all states
· Provide research support to them
· Capacity Building
· Monitoring of NREGA, ICDS, SSA, SC/ST POA ACT, Post Matric Scholarship and others
· Building networks with other organization and other economic issues like food security, health, poverty, water and projects of World Bank and others.
Monitoring strategies
Dr. Prasad
Economic rights broaden the concept of human rights. Monitoring is a process to analyze the situation for future action to bring empowerment .So monitoring is a tool to realize human right. The different schemes for the development of Dalits can be developed based on the monitoring process of atrocities. We need to divide it into various steps based on certain standards. The standards can be constitutional safeguards, acts, rules, government orders, guidelines etc. so for monitoring the schemes that standards should be clear and after that the various stages should be carved out. All schemes have some guidelines and many do provide with their own monitoring mechanism that needs to be the base of our monitoring format. The activists should be given clear and simplified booklet and modules.
Way forward- Plans for future
Paul Divakar,NCDHR
Dalit Economic Rights is going to be the main issue in coming days and strangely no one is taking this issue seriously. But now Dalit Economic Rights will be the major agenda for NCDHR. It needs to be developed as a movement. If dalits get economically empowered no one can stop their development. This is the only mean to participate equally in Indian state. For this movement the strategies and involvement should be focused and apparent. we are now taking nine states but it should cover whole India.
Vincent Manoharan, NCDHR
SCSP was our first step  towards our goal of  Dalit Economic Rights ;now we are moving to right to education, health, disaster and others.
Avinash, Oxfam India
Strangely NCDHR is thinking on the same line as we are .we are also planning for education, health and others so better understanding and collaboration can develop between NCDHR and Oxfam.
While panning for the future activities the representatives mentioned that they would require capacity building on the issues and they would identify people in the states who could be involved for Dalit economic rights. 
The state representatives agreed to have a preliminary meeting in the respective states to evolve an action plan for the states
Timeline for preliminary meeting in states
S.No State Date
1 Orissa November
2 Maharashtra November
3 Rajasthan Yet to be decided
4 Bihar 15th November
5 MP 1st week dec
6 KA 25th November
7 Gujarat End November
8 UP November
During the People’s budget Initiative Programme which would be organized on 14th and 15th November the states could ensure that there are two representatives and one being a movement leader/political leader/academician. Followed by that, the group could present their demands to the planning commission or to PM.    
A suggestion was given to train activists who have been already trained  on civil and political rights could be given training on Dalit Economic Rights. 
An Adhoc steering committee has been formed with representatives from different states who would take responsibility of the efforts on Dalit Economic Rights. 
      Adhoc steering Committee members 
S.No State Member
1 Orissa Prasant
2 Maharashtra Praveen More- consult n confirm
3 Rajasthan Satish
4 Bihar Ganshyam
5 MP Yogesh/Vishal -yet to be confirmed
6 KA Basavaraj
7 Gujarat Yet to be confirmed
8 UP Sailendra - yet to be confirmed
9 Social watch Manu Alphonse
10 CBGA Deepak
11 NCDHR Paul Divakar
12 AIDMAM Anu Radha
13 SKA Wilson
Tasks of the Steering Committee
1. State process should be ensured
2. Initial Capacity building assessment to be done at the state level
3. It was decided on two national events
i. 27th 28th November a Land Rights Dharna in Delhi 
ii. Along with People’s Budget Initiative programme (to be held on 14th, 15th November) a consultation to be organized  
4. Resource mobilization for the state level interventions could be a joint effort
5. Draft structure for a national level movement on Dalit economic rights has to be developed


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