Dalit organisations demand NAC to recommend SCP/TSP legislation
This press release comes from the SC/ST BUDGET ADHIKAR ANDOLAN
The SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan welcomes the draft recommendations of the NAC to the GOI. However, it is very disappointing that the National Advisory Council (NAC) has not suggested legislation for SCSP and TSP. It is a known fact that without legislation, accountability would not be possible, and the entitlements under the SCP will not be implemented. The Dalit organisations strongly urge the NAC to recommend SCP/TSP legislation and that this be placed in the parliament in the coming session.
The recommendations of the NAC on the reform of the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) were sent to the Government in December 2011. In line with the recommendations of the NAC, the Working Group of the NAC on Dalit Issues have now enunciated a set of Essential Elements of Implementation Framework of SCSP. Some of the recommendations of the NAC are as followed:
2.1 A permanent Cabinet Committee on Development of Scheduled Castes to be set up to review and guide effective implementation of SCSP. This Committee may be chaired by the Prime Minister.
2.2 The present Central Tripartite Committee (CTC) in the Planning Commission to be replaced with a new High Level Committee (HLC) consisting of the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, besides Member-in -charge, Planning Commission and Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, to review the implementation of SCSP and to resolve various policy related issues, thereto.
2.3 A separate unit to be created in the Planning Commission under a Principal Advisor for SCSP with adequate staff to appraise the Annual SCSP Plans of central ministries, finalize the allocations and to evaluate the outcomes at the end of the financial year. This unit shall also be the Secretariat for the HLC in the Planning Commission.
2.4 In the central ministries, a dedicated nodal unit to be headed by a Joint Secretary or Economic Advisor with full time support staff with the responsibility of preparation of Annual SCSP Plans, and also to monitor their subsequent implementation.
2.5 The National Commission for Scheduled Castes to be strengthened with adequate professional expertise and provided with supporting manpower to undertake independent evaluation of SCSP schemes of the central ministries and to give feedback to the central ministries. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes can also recommend schemes which have the potential of addressing the development needs of SCs to the concerned central ministries for inclusion in their Annual SCSP Plans.
2.6 An apex body may be set up in all States with the Chief Minister of the State as the Chairperson.
2.7 The duties of such an apex body shall include formulation of policies, approval of Annual SCSP Plans of the departments, and monitoring of the progress of SCSP so as to take corrective measures for improving the performance of the Departments.
2.8 A department may be designated as Nodal department for SCSP. Such Nodal department should be strengthened to appraise the Annual SCSP Plans prepared by other departments and also to undertake intensive monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of Annual SCSP Plans.
2.9 The Nodal department may also be empowered to clear the schemes proposed by the departments under SCSP, if the schemes fulfill the criteria of securing direct benefits to SC individuals, households and localities.
The key demands sought by the SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan are:
- A Central Legislation to be brought for Special Component Plan and Tribal Sub Plan. This Central legislation should provide for:
- Clearly setting apart a proportion of the total Plan outlays of Centre and States that is equivalent to the population proportion of SCs/STs at national and state levels, for their development.
- A well- designed, dedicated institutional set-up at the Central & State levels, which shall allocate SCP/TSP funds to the Ministries/Departments, duly taking into consideration the developmental needs of SCs/STs. This will enable the Ministries/Departments to clearly show the schemes formulated for the development of SC/STs under a separate budget head.
- Encouraging participation of community, CSOs and experts in planning as well as implementing and evaluating the schemes.
- The performance/outcome budget be published every year providing details about the beneficiaries and be made available to public access.
- The shortfall in the current Central Budget of 2012-13, including the notional amounts of Rs. Cr. 33,756.74 of SCP and Rs. Cr. 13,275.95 of TSP be returned and reallocated to schemes with a clear objective of bridging socio-economic gap between SCs/STs and Non-SCs/STs with particular focus on health, education, housing, assignment/acquisition of land, employment, income generation, entrepreneurship and access to basic amenities.
Beena J Pallical
beena at ncdhr dot org dot in