A study by members of the Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan (DA3) has revealed that the budgetary allocations for the scheduled caste and schedule tribe (SC/ST) community never reach the beneficiaries. They have further claimed that the heads under which the money is allocated is not useful as their needs are never taken into account. In view of this, they have now demanded that a law be passed by the government to ensure that allocations are used only by the prescribed beneficiaries.
Budgetary allocations for SC and ST schemes from the last five years were studied as part of the process, following recent instances of the money being diverted. It was found that as far as the Union Budget is concerned, the funds worth Rs 6,77,000 crore were rejected for SC and ST. Also, the state rejected allocations of Rs 50,000 crore in the last 27 years. Fifty per cent of the amount allocated in the budget was never spent for the last three years.
Priyadarshi Telang of DA3 said, “This year, there was an allocation of Rs 1.1crore for a supply of medicine for veterinary dispensaries. This should have come under the head of animal husbandry. How can these funds be put up for SC and ST? Every now and then, the government also diverts funds by issuing GRs. What is the use of the allocation then?”
In the backdrop of this situation, a conference was organised on October 29 and 30 at The Orchard Hotel off Apte Road by DA3 members, in which it was decided that the demand for a new law would be made to the government to ensure that there would be no more diversions and the focus would be on useful allocations along the lines of existing laws in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
MLA KC Padvi who attended the conference, said, “As the secretary of the Maharashtra Dalit Adivasi MLA and MP’s forum, I will try to ensure that such a law is passed in Maharashtra. We have seen that a separate budget is not being used despite this being the community’s right. Recent diversions for the loan waiver have proved to be an ideal example. I have submitted the draft for this law as a private member bill to the government and will try my best to get it approved.”
The private bill was introduced in 2016, cited it as a money bill and was referred to the governor. DA3 has now decided to spread awareness and also planned a protest march during the winter session to ensure that the government tables the bill.