How much Dalits benefit from State intiatives?


T.S. Ranganna reports that many governmental departments do not have specific programmes for their welfare. Some of the  departments divert funds mandated for  Dalit welfare to other purposes.  There is strong need that Finance Department should review implementation of SC/ST programmes.  Following is a case for study, it depicts sorry state of affairs in Karnataka State.

While the State Government celebrated the birth centenary of the former Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram in a grand way by unveiling his statue, what has been its own performance in respect of fulfilling the promises made to Dalits?

Not satisfactory, says Karnataka Legislature’s SC/ST Welfare Committee chairman M.P. Venkatesh. Budgetary allocation and expenditure for Dalit welfare had fallen, and dedicated funds had been diverted to other departments, he said.

“The Finance Department had failed to implement the directive of the Planning Commission to reserve 22 per cent of the funds for the development programmes of Dalits. It has instead earmarked only 12 per cent in 2006-07. Thus, out of Rs.16,166 crore it allocated only Rs.1,940 crore, and actually spent Rs. 1,026 crore,” he said. Unfortunately, some departments diverted funds for other purposes arguing that they were helping the Dalits by doing so.

Mr. Venkatesh pointed out that Water Resources, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Forests, Public Works, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Fisheries departments did not have any specific programmes for Dalit welfare.Mr. Venkatesh, however, had a word of praise for Deputy Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa for making an increased allocation of Rs. 3,600 crore in the budget, accounting for around 17 per cent of the budgetary outlay. The entire Rs. 3,600 crore should be given to the Social Welfare Department, he argued.

The committee, he said, was aghast that the Public Works Department did not have any scheme for the Dalits and diverted more than Rs. 200 crore for roads, arguing that it would improve the living condition of Dalits as they also use the roads. He said the Finance Department should periodically review the implementation of the SC/ST programmes in each department to ensure that the funds were spent fully and that they did not lapse or got diverted.

On the unspent funds of Rs. 900 crore last year, including Rs. 182 crore in the Public Works Department, he said that it should be carried forward and spent by the same departments. He said that Rs.182 crore should be utilised for construction of hostels, Ambedkar bhavans, Harijan colonies and community halls in Dalit areas.

The committee has recommended release of Rs.180 crore for electrification of borewells, raising the unit cost for constructing houses to Rs. 40,000 from Rs. 20,000, starting training programmes for migrant Dalits in urban centres, giving seed money as working capital for petty business, increasing wages to municipal cleaners and wardens in Dalit hostels from Rs. 75 and Rs. 125 to Rs. 350 and Rs. 600 respectively.

Mr. Venkatesh stressed the need to replace 30 lakh thatched huts in villages by one lakh pucca houses every year. All educational institutions, including unaided ones, should be directed to recruit Dalits and the backlog posts in private, aided and government schools should be filled. Mr. Venkatesh was unhappy that the crop loan/interest waiver scheme of the Government had not helped the Dalits and urged that the loans taken by them from various boards and corporations should be waived.

Source: The Hindu

One Response to “How much Dalits benefit from State intiatives?”

  1. 1 Do Dalits benefit from state initiatives? at Blogbharti

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