Subodh Ghildiyal-Congress has identified ‘dalit plan’ as a focus area, realizing its political potential in the election year, even hoping it would offset the damage done to its pro-dalit credentials by its failure to restore ‘promotion quota’.
NEW DELHI: Can the government estimate the number of dalits using a particular road or airport and monetize this as part of money spent on SC/ST welfare?
The Planning Commission has reversed the policy of “imputed consumption proportion” following protests from social justice ministry and decided to not include it as part of mandatory budgetary provision to be made for dalit and tribal welfare.
In a communication to the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and social justice minister Selja, plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, “The ministry did not want any reference to the imputation approach and this has been dropped.”
The decision to amend the 12th plan document on the contentious issue, after its approval last December, bears evidence that in-house protests against shortcuts to meet the shortfall in sub-plans for SCs and STs have triggered a rethink.
The sub-plans make it obligatory for the government to earmark budget in proportion to the population of SCs and STs for their exclusive development.
The government has been using the consumption pattern revealed by national sample surveys to estimate how much dalits and tribals use universal services (like roads and airport). These were then used to show higher funds spent on these communities.
With the “imputed consumption” done away with, the Centre has to find new sources of funds to meet the sub-plan target — a concern that has led the Planning Commission to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to “examine ways for effective implementation of sub-plans”.
Social justice minister Selja protested the methodology and demanded its rollback in letters to the PM and the plan panel. She wrote, “I would like to reiterate that only such allocations which benefit SCs directly are expected to be included under SCSP. Inclusion of imputed consumption proportion of SCs does not seem justifiable and is against the intention of the SCSP strategy. This in my view is inappropriate and should be taken out of the SCSP outlay.”
Congress has identified ‘dalit plan’ as a focus area, realizing its political potential in the election year, even hoping it would offset the damage done to its pro-dalit credentials by its failure to restore ‘promotion quota’. Andhra Pradesh has turned SCSP into a law through special assembly session, in the hope to win over the community being wooed aggressively by rivals like Jaganmohan Reddy.