New Delhi: The union budget for 2017-18 was criticised by a group of Dalit and Scheduled Caste rights activists on Thursday, for its "paradigmatic shift" in policy from sub plans to welfare-oriented approach and merger of plan and non-plan heads in it.
The budget replaces SC Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) by 'Allocations for welfare of SC and ST' which is a "retrogressive step" as sub plans had been key policy for flow of financial resources to Dalit and Tribal communities in the country, said Paul Divakar in a press conference organised by National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.
"The previous trend of under-allocation continues in 2017-18 budget and the allocations for SC comprise only 2.5 per cent and triabl allocations 1.53 per cent of total budget expenditure although government has raised total allocations as compared to last year. It is violative of Jadhav guidelines mandating allocating minimum of 4.63 per cent for SC and 2.39 per cent for ST of the total budgetary allocation," he said.
Vimal Thorat slammed the government for "negligible" allocations for schemes of SC and ST women.
"These women continue to be marginalised and suffer from all kinds of discrimination. Within the SC and ST welfare schemes, allocations for women schemes amount to just 1.19 per cent (SC) and 1.68 per cent (ST). Is it something worth considering." she questioned.
The analysis of NCDHR shows that several of the directly beneficial schemes for SCs and STs like Self Empowerment of Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers, National Overseas Scholarships and National SC Finance Development Corporation have been "severely undermined" of funding has been "slashed", Abhay Xaxa said.
"Only 11 new schemes for SC and 8 for ST have been introduced in 2017-18," he said.
Beena Pallical and Ravi Duggal also participated in analysis of the budget in terms of SC and ST allocations.
Pallical said that recommendations has been made to the government for real targeted schemes for SCs and STs, legislation on sub plans for SC and ST, special focus on Dalit and tribal women, and release of Rs 12,000 crore as backlog of Post Matric Scholarships to students of marginalised communities.