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Monday, February 13, 2012

Dalit groups make presentation before planning commission

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Several groups working for the uplift of the Dalit community in the country have made a joint presentation before the Planning Commission, seeking fundamental change in the government thinking about the development of the deprived, backward community. The presentation was part of the ongoing consultation of the Commission with groups and communities in the process of finalization of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017).
They demanded innovations in schemes for SCs and STs. They stressed on land reform. In place of schemes like one to subsidize funeral rites of Dalits and another to give mangal-sutra to dalit bride on her marriage, the Dalit groups demanded a separate IIM, a medical college and an engineering college in every state for SCs and STs. “Piece-meal allocation will not bring peace. We need something actual in this virtual-age,” Rajesh Solanki of Council for Social Justice (CSJ) said at the consultation meet.
The Dalit consultation with planning commission was jointly organized by NACDOR, NCDHR, and other NGOs in New Delhi on 9th Dec. 2010. Mr. Narendra Jadhav and Mr. Arun Mira, members of the commission, attended the consultation.
Rajesh Solanki presented a paper on the Dalit situation at the consultation. He raised various issues related to Dalits in the country specially in Gujarat.
“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,” Solanki said. Recently, the 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, he added.
He demanded innovations in schemes. “We have seen archaic, outdated schemes like ‘training women in tailoring’ continue since decades.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?”
He also stressed on people-oriented planning while raising the issue of fund diversion. “Six decades of independence have taught us that change can only be materialized by people-oriented Planning…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.”
He alleged that critical sectors are being ignored and important sub-sectors are being deprived of finance. The sector being ignored most, he said, is Land reform. The failure of state government to implement Agriculture Land Ceiling Act (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, he pointed out.
Other major issue of the community is drop-out among SCs. It 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,” Solanki said.
“We do not want schemes like सत्यवादी राजा हरिश्चंद्र मरणोत्तर सहाय योजना (Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra Maranottar Sahay Yojana - a scheme to subsidize funeral rites of dalits), कुंवरबाई नु मामेरु (Kunvarbai nu mameru - giving mangal-sutra to dalit bride on her marriage). We want a separate IIM, a medical college and an engineering college in every state for SCs and STs. Piece-meal allocation will not bring peace. We need something actual in this virtual-age.”
(courtesy:, 27 January, 2011)

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