Union Budget allocation for Dalits, tribals development far short of guidelines, say activists

New Delhi, Feb 2 : Funds allocated for development programmes for Dalits and tribals in the Union Budget is Rs 1,21,960 crore less than what should have been allocated as per government guidelines, activists said here on Friday.

The analysis was done by National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), an umbrella body of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) rights organisations across the country.

According to the organisation, the total amount allocated to tribals and Dalits in the Budget should have been Rs 2,17,714 crore, but was allocated only Rs 95,754 crore, which falls short by Rs 1,21,960 crore.

According to guidelines of erstwhile Planning Commission, which was adopted by NITI Aayog, the allocation of funds to SCs and STs should be proportionate to their share of the population.

NCDHR said that this was not followed by the central government while making allocations in the Union Budget.

According to NCDHR, Rs 56,619 crore allocated for SCs in the Union Budget falls short of the recommended amount of Rs 1,43,415 crore – by Rs 86,796 crore.

Similarly, Rs 39,135 crore allocated for STs falls short of the recommended amount of Rs 74,299 crore by Rs 35,164 crore.

“The more worrying trend is the lack of guidelines for designing Scheduled Caste Component (SCC) and Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) by NITI Aayog and the concerned ministries,” Paul Divakar, General Secretary of NCDHR, told reporters.

“Immediate steps need to be taken by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which are the nodal Ministries for implementation of SCC and STC to ensure that all the required ministries, allocate and implement stipulated percentage of funds,” Divakar said.

The allocation of funds in the budget to SCs is meant for 279 programmes for the community and the allocation to STs is for 305 programmes for the section.

Beena Pallickal, National Coordinator of NCDHR, said that 57 lakh Dalit and tribal students would be denied scholarship as the government has cut down on the funds for post matric scholarship compared to the previous year. “This speaks volumes of the government’s priorities. Whose development is this?” Pallickal asked.

/IANS

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