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Representational ImageCourtesy- CNN

Underfunding of SC/ST Sub-plan in UP Budget Sparks Outcry

Dalit groups expose discrepancies in UP budget allocation for SC/ST sub-plan

Lucknow- In a comprehensive analysis of the Uttar Pradesh budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, Dalit organizations including National Dalit Watch, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), UP, Bundelkhand Dalit Adhikar Manch, and Dalit Arthik Adhirkar Manch have highlighted significant gaps in the allocation of funds for the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) Sub-plan.

Kuldeep Kumar Baudh from Bundelkhand Dalit Adhikar Manch emphasized that the allocation under the SC/ST budget amounted to Rs. 43,963 crores, representing only 18.12% of the scheme budget of Rs. 2,42,609 crores. This falls short of the total due allocation of 20.70% by Rs. 6,257 crores. Despite a targeted allocation of Rs. 11,547 crores, a substantial portion of the budget has been diverted to non-targeted areas.

Kuldeep pointed out that the total gap is 38, 672 crore as apart from the gap of 6,257 crore in the total scheme allocation, a further 32,415 crore has been diverted to non-targeted allocation.

There are two parts to the Sub-plan: one is targeted, and the other is non-targeted. The targeted part is rigorously implemented, but it constitutes a smaller portion than the non-targeted part, which is usually not implemented in a focused manner.

There are a total 121 Schemes, which are non-targeted and a diversion of Rs 4014.17 crore has been made, which does not beneftits the Dalits directly like the money allocated for the state/national highways, the money provided for the distribution network of UPPCL ( Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited) . There are very few schemes which benefit the Dalits directly.

Consequently, Dalit bodies demand the enactment of a law for the SC/ST Sub-plan, akin to Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, to prevent the diversion of funds to schemes unrelated to Dalit communities. Such legislation would ensure independent auditing and proper implementation of schemes, safeguarding Dalit youths' access to loans and scholarships.

Additional demands include the clawing back of funds directed to other schemes from the SC budget and the preparation of a separate budget addressing climate change and disaster management.

This would aid in the rehabilitation and relief work for Dalit communities affected by environmental crises.

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