Lucknow— A Dalit Sammelan was organized by the National Confederation of Dalit Adivasi Organizations in Lucknow on Thursday, October 5th. The event was attended by social activists, student organizations, media professionals, bank employees, MLAs, former MLAs, former judges, etc.
Ashok Bharti, the National President of NACDAOR, presented a draft for making a law for the SC/ST Special Component Plan. Speaking at the NACDAOR event, Ashok Bharti said, "It is a provision of the government that there should be a 50% quota for SC/ST/OBC, but only 31% of the people are in jobs. NACDAOR has been working on the Budget and SC/ST Sub-Plan since 2001. It is sad to find that the budget for OBCs and minorities is not even 1/100th of their population. There is a provision for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe sub-plan under Section 10A and 10B, but not for minorities." Bharti pointed out that earlier the budget for SC/ST was Rs 5,000-10,000 crore, but now it is around Rs 1,50,000 crore. He demanded that 50% of the budget be earmarked for SC/ST/OBC.
Speaking on the occasion, Badrud Duja Naqvi, a former High Court Judge, said, "In our country, people donate generously in religious places but don't want to help the poor. He supported the demand for legal status of the SC/ST sub-plan. The SC/ST sub-plan should be for creating jobs and improving the education status of Dalits and Adivasis."
Speaking to The Mooknayak, Vinod Gautam, the State President of NACDAOR in Uttar Pradesh, said, "NACDAOR works with Dalits and Adivasis all over the country, and we have observed that the money of the SC/ST component plan is diverted to general things like fairs, temples, etc. When Ashok Bharti asked questions regarding this, he was told that Dalits also go to fairs and temples, whereas the real purpose of the component plan should be to create jobs and improve the education status of Dalits and Adivasis. Citing the scenario in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, he said that states like Telangana have SC/STP laws, which enable them to distribute land among Dalits by acquiring it.
The event was attended by, among others, Rajendra Chowdhary, Samajwadi Party leader, and Ranjeet Raja, a Dalit activist from Jaunpur.
"In our society, everyone is so self-centered—Dalits should only fight for their rights, minorities should fight only for their rights, students should fight for their rights, etc.," said Rajendra Chowdhary. He said that such tendencies weaken the fight of marginalized communities.
The National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organizations was established in the year 2001 after a conference organized by Dalit Organizations in response to the caste bias prevalent in the media. As of today, NACDOAR claims to be a platform for 2200 Dalit Adivasi Organizations spread across 23 states in India. NACDOAR also organizes the BridgeIT Entrepreneurship Development Programme to train youths from marginalized communities; the organization has been supported by Tata Consultancy Services in this endeavor. The organization has doggedly pursued the issue of making a law for the SC/ST Sub-Plan, which will prevent its diversion.
The Government of India formed the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) in 1975 for the development of Adivasis or the Scheduled Tribes. Later, the Special Component Plan (SCP) was formed for the development of Scheduled Castes. The aim of the fund is to allocate funds for schemes aimed at the development of SC/ST communities. However, allegations of misusing and diverting the funds for general purposes have surfaced quite often. Recently, state governments in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu faced charges of diverting funds meant for SC/ST to schemes meant for the general population. In 2013, Andhra Pradesh became the first state to provide legal status to the SC/ST Sub-Plan, making the diversion of the plan difficult.