Manish Dixit, Bhopal, February 9, 2006
FOR A party that won more than 90 per cent seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the last assembly election, BJP’s ‘ingratitude’ to the Dalit class is nothing short of a shock, if the recently approved annual plan outlay is anything to go by. The Government, which is going gaga over 21 per cent hike in the plan size, has curtailed outlay for various schemes of SCs/STs by over Rs 130 crore! In some heads, the cut is as high as 40 to 60 per cent.
According to official figures, the State Government has reduced the amount meant for the ST welfare by 60 per cent. Against the plan outlay of Rs 12759.01 lakh for the current year, the Government has provided for Rs 5098.99 lakh for year 2006-2007.
However, senior officials in the Mantralaya clarify that the reduction does not indicate the Government insouciance to the Dalits. The Government can increase funds for SC/ST welfare anytime, if needed. Even the figures approved by the Planning Commission are not final, they argue.
One explanation being given for the cut in the SC/ST welfare schemes is that the State Government has to chip in substantial amount in the newly introduced schemes like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) too.
The plan outlay for ST welfare was Rs 8950.98 lakh in 2003-04, Rs 13456.06 lakh in 2004-05 and 12759.01 lakh for the current fiscal. Similar is the condition of pool fund for development schemes for the SCs and STs.
During the last year in office, Digvijay Singh’s Government had made a provision of Rs 11,500 lakh under this head in 2002-03. This reduced to Rs 4466.50 lakh in 2003-04; increased to Rs 5957.85 lakh in 2004-05 and reduced again to Rs 4500 lakh in the current year.
However, for the next year plan, the Shivraj Singh’s Government has curtailed the resources under this head by 40 per cent. Against the approved outlay of Rs 4,500 lakh for the current year, the Government has made a provision of only Rs 2681.88 lakh for the next fiscal.
The State Government also made some cuts in funds meant for elementary education for SCs and STs. The State Government made a provision of Rs 22283.04 lakh for