People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXII

No. 10

March 09, 2008

 

Delhi:Demo Held On Dalit Issues

THE CPI(M) Delhi state committee organised a demonstration at ITO on February 21, 2008 on problems and demands of the dalits in the state in which several hundreds of men and women from different areas participated. A memorandum and charter of demands was also submitted to the chief minister Shiela Dixit.

The demonstration was addressed by Vijendra Sharma and PMS Grewal on behalf of the CPI(M), Mohan Lal from CITU, Albeena Shakil and Burfi Devi from Janwadi Mahila Samiti and Puran Chand from DYFI.

The speakers sharply criticised the Congress state government for paying lip service to the problems of the dalits. Of the Rs 23,000 crores outlay for Delhi in the Tenth Plan (2002-2007) only Rs 158 crores or a mere 0.69 per cent was allocated for the welfare of dalits. More allocations than this were made for flood control and jails! What is even more alarming is the fact that a large proportion of even this was not spent. Thus of the Rs 108.44 crores allocated for the first 3 years of the Tenth Plan only Rs 69.21 crores or 63.8 per cent was actually spent. The impact of this can be seen in the under or even non-implementation of different welfare schemes for dalits in the state relating to education, employment and social welfare.

The charter of demands submitted to the chief minister includes different demands of dalits in the state relating to financial allocation, education, employment and social development.

The CPI(M) Delhi state committee has decided to propagate this charter of demands on a large scale in the areas through leaflets, public meetings and demonstrative actions at offices of administrative authorities and elected representatives. This campaign will begin in early April with interventions to prevent discrimination against dalit students in admissions to schools and culminate at the end of June in state level actions.

The demonstration concluded with a call to make the above campaign a success and force the Delhi government to take steps for the genuine upliftment of dalits in the state.

Memorandum

The dalit communities comprise almost 17 per cent of Delhi?s population. Their vast majority is poor and is engaged at the lowest rung of the formal and informal sectors. They are subjected to different forms of exploitation and discrimination. Unfortunately, there has been no perceptible change in their condition over the years. There are two major reasons for this: the totally insufficient plan and budgetary allocations made for their welfare and the tardy implementation of government schemes aimed at their upliftment.

Plan Outlay & Expenditure for SC/ST/OBC

Welfare Under Annual Plans [Rs. Lakhs]

Text Box: Annual Plan	Approved Outlay	Revised Outlay (RO)	Expenditure	%Exp. With ref. to  RO	% Exp. With ref. to Total Exp.<br />
2002-03	2450.00	3638.00	1738.43	47.79	0.55<br />
2003-04	3500.00	3600.50	3806.16	97.58	0.83<br />
2004-05	4000.00	3606.00	1376.62	38.18	0.44<br />
Total	9950.00	10,844.00	6921.21	63.82	0.60

The impact of this can be seen in the under or even non-implementation of different welfare schemes for dalits in the state. Some examples of this are:

Education:

As against 31,250 merit scholarships only 16,019 or 51 per cent were actually given.

Of the 90,000 scholarships for 5th to 8th classes only 29,367 or 32.6 per cent were disbursed.

Only 217 of the targeted 2000 open scholarships for students were actually given.

Of the 9500 vocational scholarships, 3637 or 38 per cent were disbursed.

Tuition fee was to be returned to 15,625 students. None got this benefit.

Of the targeted 175 interest free loans for technical education only 44 were disbursed.

1625 public schools students were to be reimbursed tuition fees but the beneficiaries were just 724.

The central government scheme of providing free education from 9th class onwards up to PG level for all dalit children whose family income is less than Rs 1 lakh a year and in the case of professional higher education for those whose family income is less than Rs 2 lakh a year is generally not implemented in Delhi.

Economic Development:

54,350 dalits were to get financial aid for acquiring technical skills aimed at promoting self-employment. Such aid was given to only 14,000 people or 25.7 per cent.

1250 dalits were to get economic help for purchasing TSRs. The actual beneficiaries number 333.

Social Welfare:

Of the 1000 dalit families who were to get economic aid on birth of a girl child only 171 got it.

Of the 1000 dalit families to be given financial help for house construction the beneficiaries number just 2.

825 dalit bastis were targeted for developmental work. Such work took place in 409 bastis.

Of the 1000 dalit families to receive aid for water and power connections, not one got this assistance.

The above facts reveal that despite pronouncements, the government of the NCT of Delhi is paying mere lip service to the various issues and problems that beset the dalits in the state. This is a travesty of its oft-proclaimed commitment to further the cause of social justice. In light of this the Delhi state committee of the CPI (M) has finalised the following charter of demands regarding the problems and upliftment of dalits in Delhi which it urges the government to accept and implement

Charter Of Demands

Financial Outlay and Expenditure:

Increase the outlay on the Special Component Plan (SCP) for the welfare of Dalits to 17 per cent and ensure that all departments take up specific schemes for socio-economic development of the dalits, based on their needs.

Ensure full and proper expenditure of funds allocated for welfare schemes for dalits.

Set up a state level commission to oversee the implementation of all schemes connected with the SCs including reservation.

Education:

Increase number of scholarships; ensure proper availability of books and uniforms; build more hostels for dalit students. Implement central government scheme of free education from 9th class onwards up to Ph D level for all dalit children whose family income is less than Rs 1 lakh a year and in the case of professional higher education for those whose family income is less than Rs 2 lakh a year.

Implement reservation for dalit students in private schools, colleges, technical/ professional institutes. Introduce special professional training schemes for dalit students.

Stop discrimination against students from dalit bastis in admission to schools.

Employment:

Introduce employment training programmes for modern professions like information technology, repair of electronic/electric goods, accountancy etc. for dalits.

Simplify procedures of availing financial assistance by dalits for self-employment and technical training.

Investigate anarchy and corruption in the SC/ST welfare department and the DSCFDC and rectify their functioning.

Social Development:

Stop discrimination against dalit bastis in providing basic civic amenities like power, water, roads, drains, sanitation etc.

Take steps to immediately implement schemes for making chaupals; public baths and latrines and ensure their cleanliness. Repair dharamshalas in dalit bastis.

Construct new dhobi ghats and undertake repairs of existing ones.

Implement scheme of providing financial aid for construction of houses by dalits.

Reserve 17 per cent for dalits in allocation under government housing schemes, based on priority to their lowest earning sections.

Provide greater financial assistance for improvement and upliftment of dalit bastis.

Ensure speedy action against those guilty of perpetrating sexual harassment and violence on dalit women. End discriminatory attitude of the police in dealing with such cases.

Health:

Provide dispensaries and primary health centres in dalit bastis and jhuggi clusters.

Provide life saving drugs to dalits at subsidised rates.

Others:

Bifurcate the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Physically Challenged Financial Development Corporation and set up a separate corporation devoted exclusively to SC/ST welfare.