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by mudassar — last modified 2013-05-09 12:24

The consultation was represented from 17 states. The honorable Deputy Chief Minister: Shri Damodar Raja Narasimha of Andhra Pradesh was also invited. The consultation was joined by many other Govt. officials, Beuruacates, network partners and NGOs. The objectives of the National Consultation as carefully analyzing and studying AP Bill and bringing out a concrete proposal for a national level bill on SCP/STP. Paul Divakar called for a joint effort and plan for the upcoming task in bringing out the objective of this consultation. He also reminded about the critical time ahead because of the upcoming election.Government of India initiated The Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), earlier Scheduled Caste Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) during the Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-85) as special measures to eliminate development inequalities and bridge the development gaps between Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and General community.

On 20th December 2012, NCDHR-DAAA called for a one-day National Consultation to bring together different stakeholders from across the country to discuss strategies for taking forward the demands for legislation and better accountability. The consultation sought to:

  •  Analyse the Andhra Pradesh bill and process both for the content as well methodology adopted
  •  Develop further strategies for legislation at the centre given the positive developments in Andhra Pradesh
  • Consolidate and widen alliances and stakeholders towards building a campaign on effective implementation of SCP/TSP at all levels
  • Agreement for such a process was evident in the wide ranging participation of --- members with civil society participants from 19 states, elected representatives from both centre and states and bureaucrats. The consultation discussed and debated in three sessions –

     i) Current challenges in SCP/TSP implementation

     ii) Common Principles and standards for National and State                          legislation and

    iii) Way forward

The strategy to allocate plan funds proportionate to the population of the SCs & STs under all Ministries and Departments at the Central and state levels is indeed path-breaking. The non-implementation of the plans is equally blatant both at the centre and in the state with the two plans made retrogressive paper accounting procedures. Prime Ministers, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministers and Planning Commission have discussed the issues in various meetings and written to other Ministries and states for effective implementation; guidelines were provided time and again. A simple calculation of the non-allocation of these funds run altogether for Financial Year 2012-13 is Rs. Cr. 38535.54.

  One can only imagine what development magic it might have done to the community if the funds were effectively allocated and utilized.  One cannot but cast aspersions on the endemic caste bias and neglect of the marginalized communities among parliamentarians and administration for this colossal neglect and non-implementation. What is demanded is ‘due share’ of people who have been excluded and whose share is misappropriated, and hence this share needs to go even beyond their population proportion.   

 Dalit and Adivasi rights as well as human rights organizations have taken up SCP/TSP budget analysis and budget tracking since a few years resulting in the Planning Commission and the government reiterating the commitment to SCP/TSP implementation. A case in point of the diversion of such funds by the government was highlighted by civil society organizations tracking Rs.750 crores of SCP/TSP funds spent on the Commonwealth games in 2011. It resulted in the government accepting the mistake and agreeing to reimburse the money to SCP/TSP. It also needs mention that the Central government set up the two budget heads 786 for TSP and 789 for SCP after this exposure in 2011. However these continue to be half-hearted paper allocations and utilizations. However, awareness and demand for legislation and accountability is increasing in different quarters, particularly pressure from civil society organizations.

Concerted efforts by a coalition of concerned citizens, retired bureaucrats, civil society organizations and budget experts in Andhra Pradesh moved the agenda further when the state held a special assembly session to pass the ‘ANDHRA PRADESH SCHEDULED CASTES SUB-PLAN AND TRIBAL SUB-PLAN (PLANNING, ALLOCATION AND UTILISATION OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES) BILL- 2012[1]. The AP efforts provide possible pathway for demanding the legislation both at the National as well as State levels.





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