SCs ignored in the Union Budget

By staff reporter

New Delhi: It is not, as perceived generally, that the Union Budget 2008-09 has made everyone happy.
Those who are not happy with the budget include Dalit groups. The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights is one of them.

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In a statement released to the media today, the organization has termed the Budget Day as a black day for Dalits. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has denied 71% of the amount meant for SCs in the 2008-09 Budget. In effect he has deprived Dalits by Rs. 28,376 Crore, calculates the organization. And this has exposed the hollow claim of the UPA government that it is pursuing an inclusive policy.

The total budget allocation under Plan Outlay for the year 2008-2009 is Rs. 2,43,385.5 crore and under the SC Sub Plan (SCSP) the Government of India is liable to allocate Rs. 40090.90 crore exclusively for Dalits (16.7% of the total plan budget). But it has allocated just Rs. 11715.07 crore (29% of the total due under the SCSP) for the welfare of SCs, which means again SCs have been deprived by Rs 28375.9 crore. This year again it has diverted 71% of the amount SCs are due to receive under the SCSP.

The statement said that the figures of allocation are a mute witness to the history of exclusion of Dalits. It is not only for the last three years, this trend has been observed for the last 27 years since the inception of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (earlier Special Component Plan) in 1979-80.

The organization has demanded the UPA government to release a white paper on the implementation of the SCSP (SCP) and TSP since its initiation. There should be a separate ministry for development of SCs – at the Centre as well as States/UTs – demanded the organization.