Maharashtra government loots SC/ST Sub-Plan funds again

 

Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan

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Diwali is celebrated by giving gifts to others, but Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister, Maharashtra is setting a new trend of diverting an amount of Rs. 1000 Crore from Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Scheduled Tribes Sub-Plan.

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On 16th October 2017, Maharashtra Government published a resolution of Tribal Development Department and Co-operation, Marketing & Textiles Department stating Rs. 500 Crore from Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) is released for farmer’s loan waiver underChatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana – 2017 (Maharashtra Farm Loan Waiver Scheme). GR of Tribal Development Department further says that an amount of Rs 1000 Crore is approved for loan waiver, out of which Rs 500 crore of Textile Department is released and rest of the amount will be spent in this year only. This is nothing but theft of Dalit Adivasi Budget.

It is interesting to note that, no allocation was made to Textile Department in budget 2017-18, during March Budget session. However, the outlay of Rs. 500 Crore to the textile department in a revised estimate of 2017-18, is just to divert the funds of Dalits and Adivasis. An outlay of Rs. 7230 Cr and Rs 6574 Cr was made in the budget session. The development plan proposed by Finance Minister was of Rs. 77184 Crore, after the merger of Plan & Non-Plan, ideally Rs. 9108 Cr and Rs 7355 Cr should have been allocated to Dalits and Adivasis in proportion to their population of 11.8% and 9.4% respectively. Schemes of Sub-Plans are divided into State and District levels, under SCSP outlay for state-level scheme is Rs 4531 Crore, but according to budget books, only Rs. 3602 Cr is allocated and on top of that Rs. 500 Crore is approved for waiving farmers' loans. No doubt, farmers' loans should be waived and Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan  (DA3) supports that demand, but for which Dalits and Adivasi budget should not be diverted.

In fact, there is a long pending demand of loan waiver of Dalits of Finance Development Corporation like Annabhau Sathe Corporation, Mahatma Phule Corporation but the government is opening old wounds. DA3 strongly condemns the Devendra Fadnavis government for using Sub Plans amount for farmers' loan waiver. In fact, Maharashtra government should bring legislation on SCSP and TSP for Buddhists, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes, in order to have proper allocation, expenditure and to stop diversion. Similar legislation was enacted by the States of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka in the year 2013. After the merger of Plan and Non-plan, Telangana has enacted new legislation called ‘Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Special. Development Fund (Planning, Allocation and Utilization of. Financial Resources) Act, 2017'. The following table shows comparative figures of Telangana and Maharashtra in the allocation of funds:

State

Telangana

Maharashtra

SC Population (2011 census)

54,08,800

1,32,75,898

% of Total Population

15.45

11.8

Scheduled Castes Development Fund

Rs. 14,375.12 Cr

Rs. 7230 Cr

ST Population

31,78,000

1,05,10,213

% of Total Population

9.08

9.4

Scheduled Tribes Special Development Fund

Rs. 8165.87 Cr

Rs. 6,754 Cr

Scheduled Tribes Special Development Fund

Rs. 8165.87 Cr

Rs. 6,754 Cr

 

The SC population of Maharashtra is nearly twice that of Telangana, but fund allocated is half that of Telangana. Therefore we demand that government of Maharashtra should enact legislation on SCSP & TSP, which are now called SCP & STP.

~ Dr Siddharth Dhende, Dr Sanjay Dabhade, Dr Nitish Nawasagaray, Adv. Priyadarshi Telang (Convenor, DA3)

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