Skip to main content

Gujarat's budgetary outlay, expenditure "never" in proportion to SC population

By Mahender Jethmalani*
In order to ensure direct “policy-driven” benefits for Scheduled Castes (SCs) through specific interventions, the Planning Commission during the 1970s introduced plan strategies known as Special Component Plan (SCP). The main objective of SCP was to channelize plan funds for the development of SCs in accordance with the proportion of SC population.
The strategy of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), earlier known as Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes, is in force since 1979-80 and it is meant to ensure proportionate flow of plan resources for the development of SCs. For the implementation of SCP, Gujarat has created administrative machinery. The Social Justice and Empowerment Department is the nodal department in charge of the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan.
While the SCSP schemes are to be prepared and implemented by the respective departments as a part of their Five Year and Annual Plan schemes, the Social Justice and Empowerment Department is required to oversee both the formulation and implementation of the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan.
In order to ensure proper implementation of the Special Component Plan Schemes, starting with 1983-84, the budgetary provisions under the various schemes of the Special Component Plan was consolidated under a separate and single demand No 95 of the Social Justice and Empowerment Department. This was been done to ensure proper and full utilization of the outlays provided. Ironically, neither there was proper fund flow nor full utilization of even less allocated funds in last 40 years.
The major objectives of SCP’s implementation are to ensure minimum desirable levels of income and to provide the basic minimum needs to the SC population in the villages. The SCs, who constitute about 7% of the state population, are at various stages of socio-economic progress and face number of problems on account of social exclusion.
SCSP was evolved with a view to expedite socio-economic development of the SCs. Actually, schemes and programmes should have been formulated by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, rather than each department; this is the one of the reasons for the poor implementation of SCSP.
In present, when there is no clear guideline for the implementation of a strategic sub plan like SCSP, It is more important to focus upon “Budget Justice” for the SCs – this is crucial as they face various forms of discrimination and deprivation, they are poor and are heavily dependent on the public provisioning of essential services like food, education, health care, social welfare and social security, protection and care.
They have not benefited equally from public policies and public spending due to gaps in policies and poor implementation of government interventions as well. One possible remedy could be to formulate the act for implementing SCSP for ensuring the proportionate financial outlay, ensuring more of direct benefits and preventing notional expenditure with community monitoring for ensuring the transparency and accountability measures.

Implementation of SCSP

One of the guiding principles for strategic plan for the welfare and development of SCs for formulation of SCSP was to earmark the financial outlay in proportionate to the SC population from the state’s plan outlay. The budgetary data of the state’s plan outlay and budgetary outlay and expenditure for SCSP reveals that the state never ever made 7% of budget outlay and expenditure for SCSP in the last 38 years.
The expenditure under SCSP was never fully utilized except during the Eighth Five Year Plan, when the expenditure registered 111.67% against the budget outlay of Rs 341 crore; in value terms, the expenditure under SCSP reached Rs 381 crore. In the remaining 33 years, there was huge under-spending of budget outlay under SCSP. The actual expenditure has been in range of 68% to 89.79% except during the Eighth Five year plan.

SCs in Gujarat

SC communities in Gujarat have suffered historic injustice on caste basis; their economic and social status is lower than others. At around 7% of the total, the SC population in Gujarat is 40.74 lakh out of state’s population of 6.04 crore. SCs in Gujarat are dispersed in all the districts of the State; the bulk of SCs, however, live in eight districts.
There are 2,361 villages and towns which have SC population of more than 250 people. A larger concentration of SC population could be found in Ahmedabad, Banaskantha, Junagadh, Mehsana and Vadodara districts. 
Very few SC people hold agricultural lands. There are about 48.85 lakh operational holders operating about 98.98 lakh ha land as per the Agricultural Census 2010-11. SC people are land holders of only 1.62 lakh (3.32%) and operate 2.94 lakh hectares (2.97%) area of operational holdings. Landlessness among SCs is very high. Monthly per capita consumer expenditure of SCs in Gujarat is Rs 1,374 in rural and Rs 2359 in urban areas, which is less than the state average.
SC landless households deriving major part of their income in rural areas by manual casual labour are 63.24%. In rural areas only 4.68% households have salaried jobs in government; 77% households in rural areas earn less than Rs 5,000 per month.
Literacy rate among SCs is 70.5%, higher than the state average (69.14%), but the transition rate from the elementary to secondary is 87.32% and secondary to higher secondary is just 55%, which is far below general category (71%).
Malnutrition among SC children is also high. Around 42.3% SCs children (0-.59 months) were found stunted, According to RSOC (2013-14), severely stunted children are to the tune of 19%. Wasting was found among 21.7% children, while 7.5% were severely wasted. 39.4% SC children were found underweight.
The average monthly consumer expenditure for SCs is Rs 1,374 and Rs 2,359 in rural and urban areas respectively, which is less than state average of all social groups.
The under-spending of budget under SCSP has always been very huge across all years. In the year 2017-18, the under spending for social services on revenue account was Rs 287 crore. Under-spending for most critical development sectors like education, medical and public health, water and sanitation, housing and nutrition is very huge. The spending of Rs 512 crore, the highest amount for urban development, is notional expenditure”, which provides services to all community members instead of just the SCs.
The revenue expenditure for economic development in 2017-18 among selected major heads was also less than what the budget earmarked. Under-expenditure for crop husbandry was estimated to be Rs 33 crore, animal husbandry Rs 6.35 crore, and Other Rural Development Works Rs 37.76 crore, Village and Small Industries Rs 8.43 crore, and civil supplies Rs 5.17 crore. Under spending is estimated to be Rs 101.37 crore for revenue account.The overall utilization was to be 78%.

Policy Asks for Implementation of SCSP

The analysis of SCSP for the last 40 years reveals that the budgetary outlay and expenditure have never been in proportionate to the SC population in Gujarat and under-spending is huge. For the development and welfare of SCs, SCSP should be converted into legislation to ensure Budget Justice to SCs with provisions like non-diversion of budget outlay under each Major Head (Functional Head), even as ensuring maximum direct benefits to SCs with minimum notional expenditure, and periodic upward revision of unit cost of each welfare scheme.
---
*Director, Pathey Budget Centre, Ahmedabad. 
Data source: Budget documents of Gujarat government, Compiled and calculation by Pathey Budget Centre

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen