Unhappy With Budget 2017, NGO Asks PM for More Funds for SC/ST

The plea says that if funds are not allocated, the situation will be “a devastating blow to the Dalits/ Tribals.”

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi  (Photo: Reuters)

The schemes for Scheduled Castes and Tribes have been reduced from 294 to 256, and from 307 to 261, respectively in Union Budget 2017, among other changes. Expressing displeasure at these changes, a Kanyakumari-based NGO, Centre for Social Reconstruction and Development CSR), has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for allocation of more funds for welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

The NGO expresses unhappiness with Budget 2017 and says that the:

...schemes meant for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are not adequate and have shown a marked deviation from established practices of past years, which will inevitably land a devastating blow to the Dalits/ Tribals.

CSR cites three media reports, by The Wire, The Indian Express and another from PTI, to emphasise its argument.

  • The total Schemes for Scheduled Castes has been reduced from 294 to 256 only and the total schemes for Scheduled Tribes is brought down to only 261 from 307 in 2016-17. Only 11 new schemes for SCs and 8 new schemes for STs have been introduced in 2017-18.
  • Budget 2017-18 allocated Rs 52,393 crore for SCs and Rs 31,920 crore for STs.
  • This amount is 2.50 percent of the total Budget estimate. The due amount as per Jadhav guidelines is equivalent to 4.25 percent of total Budget
  • Total of Rs 44,246 crore for SCs and Rs 18,073 crore for STs has been denied by the Central government.
  • 1.19 percent of the total allocation for SC/STs has been allocated for SC women and 1.68 percent for ST women. Overall allocation for gender budget is only 0.99 percent.
    The Wire)

Calling the policies a “retrogressive step”, the request further points out that they are violative of Jadhav guidelines, which mandate allocating a minimum of 4.63 percent for SC and 2.39 per cent for ST in the budget.

Vimal Thorat, professor and activist slammed the government for "negligible" allocations for schemes of SC and ST women and said:

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.

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