Three years after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) introduced Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY), a new scheme for the overall development of tribal communities, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) has cut back the entire fund allocated to states.
While in 2014 the scheme was implemented in 10 states with Rs 100 crore allocated to each state, in 2015-16, it was implemented in 21 states with an allocation for Rs 200 crore to each state.
However, in 2016-17, the allocation to VKY was slashed. On December12, 2016, the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor told the Lok Sabha that the scheme will only retain a token sum of Rs 1 crore.
“In 2016-17, no budgetary allocation was made as VKY objectives are being met from the Tribal Sub Plan funds available under the various schemes of the central government and state government. A token provision of Rs 1 crore only was made,” he said.
But data shows that even the amount released for the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) has been slashed. Data shows that funds released by the Centre towards TSP were reduced by 10 per cent from 2013 to 2017.
|Year||Funds released under SCA to TSP (in lakh)|
|Source: Rajya Sabha|
Schemes under education also took a steep hit. For instance, funds for hostels for Scheduled Tribe students were reduced by 94 per cent. Funds for pre-matric scholarships for ST students in IXth and Xth standard saw a drop of more than 75 per cent.
|Schemes under education also took a hit. For instance, funds for hostels for Scheduled Tribe students were reduced by 94 per cent. Funds for pre-matric scholarships for ST students in IXth and Xth standard saw a drop of more than 75 per cent. Scheme||Funds in lakhs |
|Funds in lakhs |
|Hostels for ST Boys and Girls||10,105||595|
|Ashram schools in Tribal Sub-Plan||7,217||No funds released|
|Scheme of Pre-Matric scholarship for ST students studying in classes IX & X||21,943||5,211|
|National Overseas scholarship||68||0|
|National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education for ST students||950||504|
|Source: Lok Sabha|
Funds also decreased for the economic development of tribals, who are in the lowest rung of the economic ladder. About 45 per cent of them live Below Poverty Line in rural areas and 24 per cent in urban areas. Funds for Skill Development and Vocational Training (income generation) were slashed by more than 50 per cent in the last four budgets.
|Year||Fund released for Skill Development and Vocational Training (income generation) (in lakhs)|
|2017-18||16,456 (Funds approved)|
This is when the Union Budget 2017-18 document shows an overall increase in the allocation made to the tribal affairs ministry from Rs 4,826 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 5,329 crore in 2017-18.
The increased allocation is solely because of the increase in revenue expenditure, which neither creates assets nor reduces liabilities. It involves salaries of employees and pension. The revenue expenditure increased from Rs 4,766 in 2016-17 to Rs 5,269 in 2017-18. The capital expenditure (that creates assets and reduces liabilities,mostly involving building infrastructure, expenditure on development plans) during the same time period remained stagnant at Rs 60 crore, less than in 2014-15 (Rs 70 crore).
|Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna focuses on:|
Employment, education, economic development of tribal areas, health, housing