(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 23, 2008
CPI(M) Organises Seminar On Dalit Human Index
THE government of Karnataka has released human development report for the year 2005-06. The report has separate section on ‘Dalit human development’. This report exposes the chameleon nature of the bourgeoisie political parties who show just crocodile tears for the dalits.
State cannot achieve development and prosperity unless dalits and women form part of this development.The precarious position of the dalits in the state could be grasped while comparing the land, employment, education, income, expenditure, sanitation, road and other issues of dalits in Karnataka.
The dalits own just 8.7 percent of the land, while their population is about 16.21 percent of the state and the majority of the land owned by dalits does not have irrigation facilities. 79 percent of the SC population depends on agricultural sector for their employment, which has marginal income. 10.43 percent and 10.74 percent of the dalits are employed in the industries and service sector respectively. This implies that less number of dalits are employed in the industries and service sector which brings more income.
In the rural areas, monthly expenditure of SC people is Rs 419 while the other people spend Rs 560. Dalits lag behind even in literacy too. In 1981, 27.62 percent were literates and in 1991, 38.1 percent and in 2001, 52.87 percent. Although there is an increase in literacy among dalits, it is less when compared to other categories.
In 2002-03, SC students admitted to degree colleges were just 6.8 percent and to diploma colleges, 0.8 percent. This tells us that dalits do not have highly skilled jobs which bring higher income.
As per the 1991 census, only 9.24 percent of SCs have toilets and the same in case of others is 26.97 percent. Though, as per the 2001 census, this has increased to 27.18 percent, in case of others it stands at 40.8 percent and the gap has been widening.
Only 17.2 percent of SC colonies/villages have community toilets, 43.69 percent do not have drainage system and as a result of this they have been kept out of sanitation system and are thus attacked by one or the other diseases.
The health of the people is dependent on nutritious food intake and balanced food is a necessary thing. Only 55.7 percent of the SC women have milk or curd in their food and only 39.8 percent of them take fruits. Though the poverty alleviation programmes pay attention to poor people of all the castes, they should concentrate more on SC people.
The policies of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation are attacking the dalits. The right to land, which is one of the important key to their prosperity has been limited by making a reversal of land reform laws. Likewise, privatisation and mechanisation policies have limited the right to employment. Dalits are deprived of health and education. Food security is facing dire consequences due to policies of cut in food subsidy and price rise.
In this background, it is essential to fight against liberalisation policies while fighting for rights of the dalits. The government of Karnataka has provided Rs 4100 crores for the betterment of the SCs as per the directions of the central government. As a majority of these monetary resources have been wasted, this has to be spent through single window scheme for employment generation, health, etc.
CALL FOR BROAD
The state committee of CPI(M) organised a debate on dalit human index on February 27, 2008.
CPI(M) Polit-Bureau member K Varadarajan inaugurated the programme. He said “Even after 60 years of independence, the conditions of dalits almost remains the same. Instead of implementing a minimum programme for the benefit of the dalits, all bourgeois political parties have made use of them as vote banks in the post-independence period.” Dalits face caste exploitation in addition to class exploitation. In this background, he said, a movement against social in-equality, caste system has to be assimilated with class struggle. He explained the caste discrimination in the country and shared the experience of Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and other states while fighting against the same. He stressed the need for broad movement against such discrimination.
Professor T R Chandrashekhar from Hampi University who presented the topic, said that though the governments have been claiming that the food security has been achieved, they are keeping silence on whether the food security has been protected. It is not only essential to increase the food production, but also necessary to provide the poor with food. The studies have exposed the myth that if the employment, food production, education are increased, it percolates to lower classes including dalits. Hence priority has to be determined, he said.
Former MLC and writer Sri L Hanumanthaiah commended the efforts of the Party in organising the seminar. He said that there is no meaning in formulating the human development index without counting on the human labour. The concept of development of dalits has been limited to student scholarship and providing hostels. One has to come out of this. Human development is not possible just by reservation. The government money has to be distributed based on population and priority, he said.
CPI(M) state secretariat member and Central Committee member G NNagaraj said that the budget allocation meant for dalits should be spent through single window so as not to waste it. Effective implementation of social laws and land reforms to distribute land to the landless leads to real development of the dalits, he said.
Karnataka Dalit Sangarsh Samithi leader Mavalli Shankar(Ambedkarvada) expressed concern that there has been systematic conspiracy to create intolerance by spreading false information among youth of the upper class. He asserted that DSS always formed part of the dalit struggle.
CPI(M) state secretary V J K Nair who presided over the meeting said that status of dalits is better in Kerala, West Bengal, and Tripura due to struggle against caste discrimination along with class struggle. Several people have laid down their lives in the militant struggle against untouchability and for land, he said.