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Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”
NCDHR, in its report titled "Dalit Adivasi Budget Analysis 2019-20", says that its analysis of the Gender Budget Statement (GBS) reveals that the allocation under GBS is Rs 1,36,934 crore, out of which appallingly for the SC and ST women only Rs 2,890 crore (2.1%) and Rs 1,006.74 crore (0.73%), respectively.
According to the report, “This is a clear paradox where on one side there is a huge discussion on inclusive development, while on the other there is very limited allocation addressing the needs of the SC and ST women.”
The report regrets, “Despite growing incidences of violence against SC and ST women there is an insignificant allocation of Rs 42 crore pertaining to their access to justice and adequate compensation”, adding, “There is only one scheme pertaining to the same, namely, Strengthening of Machinery for Enforcement of Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCR), 1955 and Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act,1989’ which is mainly towards sensitisation programmes.”
NCDHR comments, “There have been massive cases of violence against the Dalit and Adivasi women across the country demonstrating the systematic manner in which Dalit and Adivasi women are imperiled to extreme forms of violence and inhuman treatment for asserting their rights”, adding, “It is in this context that there is need to have more schemes pertaining to access to justice and adequate compensation for Dalit and Adivasi women.”
“Moreover”, NCDHR says, “Large number of schemes is non-targeted in nature, which means there is no direct bearing on the lives of Dalit and Adivasi women”, adding, “The budget also failed to make allocations for alternate sexual identities such as transgenders, bisexuals, and intersex. The budget has completely invisibilised them and has failed to address intersectionality.”
NCDHR notes that there is an overall increase in allocations for SCs and STs in the 2019-20 budget by 35.6% for SCs and 28% for STs, adding, for the first time, 329 schemes for SCs and 338 schemes for STs have been set aside for their welfare.
“However”, the report claims, “If we place these figures, against the background of large scale poverty among SC, ST communities as well as against the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance, these schemes will not go far in addressing the development gap between SC-ST and the rest of the population.”
The proportion of targeted schemes is 42.82% for SCs and 40.9 % for STs, the report states, adding, the rest are “de facto general schemes, with a mask of SC or ST budget schemes. They do not qualify as SC, ST schemes that benefit the communities which it is intended to do.”
According to NCDHR, a “striking feature” of the 2019-20 budget is “the systemic undermining of number of critical schemes by starving them of necessary funds.”
These are related to Post Matric Scholarship, University Grants Commission, Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour, National Fellowship for SC, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Grants to Voluntary Organisations, land records modernization etc.
All of them have been denied “direct benefit” of necessary funds for SC-ST development, it adds.
Then, says the report, allocations for the nodal ministry for SCs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has been “significantly reduced compared to last year”, adding, “Other critical ministries which have witnessed steep declines in SC development are Rural Development, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Drinking Water and Sanitation.”
“Similarly, from the ST perspective, the critical ministries are MSME and Drinking Water and Sanitation with substantial decrease. There is only a marginal increase in allocations for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA)”, the report asserts.
Similarly, the report states, “Majority of the huge allocations which are allocated in sub-plans are general in nature with no direct impact on the development of SC and ST communities. For example, the Income Support Scheme, which is renamed as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, with an allocation of Rs 12,450 crore, the Samagra Shiksha, with an allocation of Rs 7,264 crore, the National Rural Health Mission with allocation of Rs 6,611.47 crore all are general in nature.”

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