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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Piece-meal allocation will not bring peace

paper presented in a consultation with planning commission
When I participated in ‘Dalit consultation with planning commission’ jointly organized by NACDOR, NCDHR, and other NGOs in New Delhi on December 9, 2010, I shockingly realized that entire consultation space had been captured by handful NGOs and there is total absence of dalit-tribal community leaders and activists. Paul Diwakar and Narendra Jadhav both were congratulating each other and their paid workers were documenting and capturing each moment as if they were creating history. The whole thrust was on “kaise paisa lootana.” There was no discussion on skill building. People were crying for scholarships. The aim of SCP is to give “money directly to beneficiaries.” Here, In Gujarat another Narendra is doing same thing by organizing Garib Mela!!!

As an inheritor of a great civilization, I would like to start my discourse with a fabulous quote of our ancient wisdom:

नास्ति अक्षरम् अमंत्रम्, नास्ति मूलम् अनौषधम,
नास्ति मनुष्य निरर्थकम्, योजक: तत्र दुर्लभ: ।।

“Nasti aksharam amantram, nasty mulam an-aushadham, nasti manushya nirarthakam, yojakah tatra durlabhah.”

(In this universe, every word is mantra, every plant is medicine, every human being is purposeful, (but) Manager is rare.)

I am from Gujarat, a state which is called vibrant by some people, I call it migrant. It is sucking blood and toil of migrant workers. Here, more than one lakh tribal children are being exploited and sexploited in fields of BT cotton. In Ahmedabad, our developing mega-city, every month average two tribal workers are killed on construction sites. Recently, state government has decided to keep records of migrant workers, not to implement inter-state migrant labour Act, but to identify so-called naxal elements among migrant labourers. It is tragic! 

Now, I will touch the main point, i.e. planning by the people, planning for the people and planning to the people. The confusion is, we are talking about geodesic planning in a pyramid society. I have also come across a question, how to know what people wants. An American wisdom, fabulously expressed by Martin Luther King can be our guiding Principal: “riots are voices of unheard” Let us keep our ears on ground and listen to what our people want to say.

We crave for innovations. We have seen archaic, outdated schemes like ‘training women in tailoring’ continue since decades. In my state social welfare department is ridiculously, spending crores of rupees in a survey, just to know, which kind of work SCs and STs. want to do. In this century of networking do we, still need a research to emphasize that we want to learn state-of-the-art technologies?

Six decades of independence have taught us that change can only be materialized by people-oriented Planning. The SCP and TSP guidelines issued by planning commission are a beginning in this regard. My problem is, the nodal department, which is given the pious duty of allocating and monitoring funds for SCs and STs, is diverting the funds to other purposes.
From the beginning non-divisible’ component has been headache. Now, we have decided that the departments handling mega projects will bear responsibility of earmarking. I am still confused. In my state, major chunk of indivisible component is being consumed by Sardar Sarovar. In the future, there will be kalpsar, a highly controversial mega-project, the potential benefits of which is a question of fiery debate.

Our organization, Council for Social Justice, have collected tons of Information spanning a decade under RTI act. We have observed that all meetings of task force called by collectors are mere formalities. Collectors hardly take any interest in fulfilling the targets. Every meeting Concludes with one line, “Steps will be taken to fulfill targets in next year.” Next year never comes.
Critical sectors are being ignored and important sub-sectors are being deprived of finance. Thus, the sector which is being ignored most is the sector which is the most important. Land reform is the case in this regard. We are the only organization in entire country, which has been and is instrumental in implementation of Agriculture Land Ceiling Act and our experience suggests only one thing. The failure of state government to implement ALCA is being reflected in non-allocation in area of land reforms. The lack of any preventive acts curbing land alienation of dalits is another major concern, which needs to be addressed.
Alarming rate of drop-out among SCs is seriously affecting skill-based development. Meaningless schemes by state governments have aggravated this problem. In Gujarat crores of rupees have been diverted to a scheme like sponsoring SC student for foreign studies, when thousands of local poor SC students are craving for quality education.

I would like to draw your kind attention to a survey conducted in Ahmedabad city by one of our organizations Dalit Hak Rakshak Manch. The survey is attached herewith.

Diversion of funds is a major issue. State governments have not opened minor codes for SCP/TSP. if the allocation is not utilized in a given time frame; there will a danger of diversion. The political needs of state governments play major role in such diversion. In Gujarat state crores of rupees which was meant for rehabilitation of manual scavengers was simply thrown away in the hands of political agents of party in power.

We do not want schemes like Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra Maranottar Sahay Yojana (a scheme to subsidize funeral rites of dalits), Kunvarbai nu mameru (giving mangal-sutra to dalit bride on her marriage). We want a separate IIM, a medical collage and an engineering collage in every state for SCs and STs. Piece-meal allocation will not bring peace. We need something actual in this virtual-age.

                                                             Raju Solanki

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