Dalits, Adivasis Protest Against Unfair Budgetary Allocations
Dalits and Adivasis staged a protest to demand their rightful economic share in the Union Budget 2015-16 in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi today. The thundering clouds and the pouring rain did not deter the spirit of these activists as they raised slogans in unison against the Modi government to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. This year the budgetary allocation has severely fallen short and denies 57 per cent of state money meant for welfare schemes for Dalits and Adivasis. Several leaders from Dalit and Adivasi movements, CSOs and students unions participated in the march for economic justice.
New Delhi, 2 March 2015: Similar demonstrations were held across India, including Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Utttar Pradesh. A demonstration was also staged in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi s office, also known as the min-PMO, in his constituency in Varanasi.
Dalits and tribals since ages have been subjected to worst forms of social oppression and economic exploitation. They face social, economic, political and cultural discrimination. The government is discriminating too. It does not allocate the funds Dalits and tribals are entitled to.
To bring Dalits and tribals on par with other sections of society, the Special Component Plan (which was later renamed as the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan-SCSP) and the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) were formulated by the Planning Commission. The sub plans directed the central and state governments to allocate funds from the annual Plan outlays in proportion to the percentage of the population of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. But never has this been followed and in most cases, the union and state governments have not been allocating the amounts required.
This year, Dalits have been allocated only Rs 30,850 crore, while the allocation is only Rs 19,980 crore for Adivasis. However, as per the SCSP/TSP Guidelines, the SCs should be allocated 16.6% of the Plan Outlay, which amounts to Rs 77,236 crore towards SCSP and the STs should be allocated 8.6% of the Plan Outlay, which amounts to Rs 40,014 crore towards TSP. Dalits, therefore, have been denied a total of 61% of the due amount under the SCSP, and 53% has been denied to Adivasis under TSP, said NCDHR General Secretary Paul Divakar.
The Narendra Modi government has only reaffirmed its pro-corporate approach by bringing down corporate tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent, said Asha Kowtal, General Secretary. All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch . The budget is anti-Dalits and overlooks their interests, pointed out other activists. How else could the Government allocate a measly 9 percent when the allocation should have been 25 percent of the total budget for the 260 million Dalits and Adivasis? We will continue with our protests until the Government yields to our demands, added Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice.
Every year the Government (irrespective of the ruling party) denies the two marginalised communities, who constitute 25 percent of the population, billions of dollars entitled to them through the budgetary allocations.
Sau Mein Pachees Haq Hamara, an online petition launched to urge people to sign up and ensure Dalits and Adivasis get their due share, is simultaneously building pressure on the government to protect the interests of the vulnerable communities.