|Allocation to SC-ST, as seen by Delhi Solidarity Group|
In a major exposure of the Government of India’s latest budgetary exercise, a top Delhi-based civil rights group has revealed that the “Economic Survey 2016-17”, presented in Parliament on January 31, the terms Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) have been removed.
Pointing out that it this “clearly points to the priorities of the present ruling dispensation which perhaps wants to convey that indicators of development of SC and ST communities are no more the indicators for national development”, the Delhi Solidarity Group (SDG) in its in-depth analysis has said that the budget has deviated from the “established norm of presenting plan and non-plan components separately,” which will “affect allocation for SC/ST.”
DSG says, “In previous budgets, allocations for SC/ST was mandated for programmes covered for plan period only. and expenditure of establishments after the expiry of plan period were booked under non-plan heads.”
“Thereby”, it adds, “In the figures given in the budget 2016-17, population proportionate allocation for SC/ST was applicable in total budget of Union of India.”
However, this has been abandoned now. The result, says the analysis, is that as against the total budget size of Rs 21,47,000 crore, the allocation to the SCs is Rs 52,393 crore under what is called the special component plan. This comes to 2.44% of the total total budget size, as against the SC population of SC 16.6% in the country (Census 2011).
Significantly, in the previous budget, the allocation was Rs 38,338 crore in the plan budget alone, the analysis claims, adding, if one takes into account 16.6% of SC population, its “due share” in the total budget, including all sorts of expenditure, should have been Rs 3, 56,402 crore.
This, says DSG, suggests that there is a “shortage of allocation” for SC in the budgetary allocation to the tune of Rs. 3, 04,009 crore in 2017-18.
Things are not very different for ST, says the analysis, pointing out that the “allocation made under the ST sub-plan is Rs. 31,920 crore”, as against the the previous year’s of Rs 24,000 crore in the plan budget alone.
Considering that the ST population of India is 8.6% (2011 Census), the analysis says, “The due share of ST in total budget, including all sorts of expenditure should have been Rs 1, 84,642 crore.” This, it adds, suggests that there is a “shortfall” of Rs 1,52,722 crore in 2017-18.
“So”, concludes DSG, “The total amount denied to SC and ST communities is Rs 4, 56,731crore.”