People's Democracy

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


No. 51

December 18, 2011


Resolution adopted at the Workshop on SC/ST Sub-Plan

Dec 12, 2011, New Delhi



EVEN after 64 years of independence, the condition of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes continues to be appalling, both socially and economically. They lag behind even the minimum parameters in all aspects. The discrimination both economic and social continues. Despite all the tall promises made and schemes announced, not much progress has been made and most of these promises have not been implemented properly.




The shameless practice of untouchability and caste oppression unfortunately continues in our country. Caste oppression is the worst form of human subjugation and is intolerable and unacceptable in any civilised society. There exist numerous forms of untouchability. Dalits are denied elementary democratic rights. Despicably it pervades all spheres of socio-economic and cultural life. More than one million dalits are forced to work as manual scavengers despite a legal ban on the inhuman practice. The shameful Devadasi system is prevailing in many parts of the country.  Dalits continue to be victims of untouchability, caste violence, human rights violations and atrocities day in and day out. Nearly 30,000 cases of crimes against dalits are registered every year; while a large number of atrocities and cases of discrimination go unreported. In many parts of Northern India, khap panchayats are ruling the roost.  Sixty four years of bourgeois-landlord rule in India has failed to make a serious dent on untouchability and caste oppression despite the presence of constitutional provisions.


In addition to untouchability, atrocities and violation of human rights, discrimination in all walks of life is also common. Economic discrimination in terms of inequality of assets, inequality of opportunities and political discrimination in terms of allotment of schemes and budgetary allocations is rampant. The condition of the adivasis or Scheduled Tribes is also equally pathetic and they are also denied the basic dignity of life, equal opportunities, access to education, health and employment like the dalits.




The Indian constitution guarantees safeguards to dalits under Part XVI and also provides for the protection and promotion of their social, economic, educational, cultural and political interests, to bridge the disparities with other sections of society. Fundamental rights, directive principles of State policy and the fifth and sixth schedules of the constitution try to guarantee certain safeguards for dalits and adivasis. Article 330 guarantees reservations to SCs and STs, but after the implementation of the neo-liberal policies, job opportunities have got reduced to the minimum level. Private sector has, in no way, implemented this constitutional provision. The so-called affirmative action is confined to papers only. Despite the constitutional safeguards and developmental planning attempted through the Five Year Plans, the dalits and adivasis are lagging behind the general population in various socio-economic indicators. 




The total population of dalits who are classified as Scheduled Castes as per the 2001 census was 16.6 per cent of the total population. In 2000, about two-thirds of SC rural households were landless or near-landless, compared with one-third amongst the non-Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities; less than one-third of SC households had acquired access to capital assets, compared with 60 per cent among non-SC/ST households; and about 60 per cent of SC households still had to depend on wage labour, compared with one-fourth among non-SC/ST households.


The percentage of agricultural labourers is 51.4 per cent for Scheduled Castes and for others it is 19 per cent (data for 1999 to 2000). Literacy rate of dalits is 54.69 per cent as per census 2001.  But dalit enrollment in graduate education is merely 8.37 per cent as against 91.63 per cent for others. 


Disparities of a similar magnitude exist in their health status. The incidence of anaemia among SC women and the mortality rate among SC children are high compared with those among their non-SC/ST counterparts. Discrimination in various market and non-market transactions, including access to social services such as education, health, housing, and in political participation is also common.

The cumulative impact of these disparities is reflected in the high levels of poverty in the dalit community. In 1999-2000, about 36 per cent of dalits were poor as compared with 21 per cent among non-SC/STs. The prevalence of poverty was particularly high among dalit households that were engaged in wage labour in rural areas (50 per cent) and urban areas (60 per cent). Although there may have been a slight improvement in material conditions of small sections of the dalit community due to reservations and resultant jobs, it is far below desired levels. In all the above cases, the discrimination against dalit women is much worse. 



Tribals constitute 8.2 per cent of the population. But they are deprived the share proportionate to their population in the funds. Tribal sub-plan is being implemented since 1974. But the results are far from satisfactory. In 2010-11, budget plan outlay for tribal sub-plan is 3.16 per cent only. In the 2011-12 it was increased to 5.11 per cent. Even then this is much below their due in proportion to their population. Actual expenditure is very much less than the allocation.




The Sixth Plan identified the lack of economic support as the main cause of extremely slow pace of development of the Scheduled Castes during the earlier plans. It came up with a new strategy to address this concern. The objective was to reduce the gap between the dalits and the non-dalits. The Sixth Plan (1980-85) marked a shift in the approach to the development of SCs. Special emphasis was laid on the implementation of the newly launched Scheduled Caste Special Component Plan (SCP), later it was converted into SC Sub-Plan (SCSP) facilitating easy convergence and pooling of resources from all the other developmental sectors in proportion to the population of SCs and monitoring of various developmental programmes for the benefit of SCs. In the process of implementation of liberalisation policies, the concept of Special Component Plan also got diluted and renamed it as Sub Plan.  In the capacity of member secretary of Planning Commission, the present prime minister Manmohan Singh has issued guidelines in 1980.  The new strategy so evolved was a combination of the following three instruments: (1) The Special Component Plan of the states and central ministries (SCP), (ii) The Special Central Assistance (SCA) and (iii) The Scheduled Castes Development Corporations in the States (SCDCs). The programme was mandatory for all state governments and all their departments as well as central government ministries and was universal in application. The SCA scheme whereby 100 per cent grant to states for implementation of SCP is given, was initiated in 1986. The SCP envisaged that the funds to be allocated for the welfare of dalits out of the total plan outlay should be at least proportional to their population percentage both at the national and state level. The Scheduled Castes Development Corporations in the states (SCDCs) were to act as the nodal agencies for formulation, implementation and monitoring of the SCP.


This was meant to be a mechanism for the economic empowerment of dalits and envisaged as a policy instrument to ensure fulfillment of constitutional guarantees and entitlements enjoined for the dalit community. However, the track record of the implementation of the SC Sub Plan has been dismal and the aspirations of the dalit community have been betrayed over time.


As per Special Component Plan, the amount of expenditure of planned central government budget for dalits should be according to their population but this rule has been flagrantly violated by states as well as central government ever since the SCP or the SCSP came into existence. In 2006-07 the total plan allocation was Rs 1,65,499 crores, but only 4.25 per cent or Rs 7,031.86 crores were earmarked for dalits.  In 2007-2008 the total plan budget was Rs 205100 crores and allocation to dalits was only Rs 12535.75 crores (6.1 per cent) whereas it should have been Rs 32816 crores. Thus there is a shortfall of nearly Rs 20280 crores. In 2008-09 the total budget allocation under Plan outlay was Rs 2,43,385.5 crores and although the government was liable to allocate Rs 40,090.90 crores exclusively for dalits it had allocated only Rs 11,715.07 crores or merely 29 per cent of the total due under the SCSP for welfare of dalits. This implies that the dalit community has been deprived of 71 per cent of the amount or Rs 28,375.9 crores meant for their development. In 2010-11 of the total plan outlay of Rs 2,84,284 crores only Rs 23,795 crores or 8.4 per cent of the plan was allocated for the development of dalits. In 2011-12 of the total plan outlay of Rs 3,40,255 crores only Rs 30,551 crores were allocated under the SCP thereby depriving the dalit community of Rs 24,570 crores that was meant for their development. During the Ninth Plan period out of the 62 central ministries or departments only 11 had formulated an SCP. In 2011-12 only 24 departments have allocated for dalits. The actual spending on SCSP and TSP is much lower than even the meager allocation made in the plan outlays. Many states have not implemented the SCSP and a few have introduced the concept only recently. In different states also rampant diversion of the SCSP funds is going on. Under-utilisation and lapse of funds as well as misuse is also a common practice. A glaring instance has been the diversion of funds from the SCSP to the tune of Rs 744.354 crores during 2006-07 to 2010-11 to meet the Commonwealth Games related expenses. Some ministries and departments are giving the ruse that the non-implementation SCSP, TSP is because of non-divisible component. They argue that quantification is made only from divisible component, scheme wise. The Principal Adviser to the Planning Commission, in his report in 2006 mentioned “As a result of this the actual earmarking of SCSP and TSP from the total state plan becomes much lesser than what should have been as per the population of SCs and STs to the total population of the state.” In this situation, it is the responsibility of the Planning Commission to ensure the allotment of funds in proportion of the population. The task force appointed by the Planning Commission in its report in 2010 November revealed that departments/ministries which are under no obligation category needs to be relooked. The government of India introduced a new scheme for dalit areas development, called Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY) meant for development of dalit areas where their population is high. They selected some village in some states. In the 2010-11 budget, they allotted Rs 400 crores for this purpose and later it was revised to Rs 98 crores. Similarly, allotment as a whole to the social welfare sector was reduced by Rs 200 crore in the revised budget. This is the state of affairs of allotment of funds.




There is no law that would compel state governments, central ministries and departments to stop them from diverting allocations. The Planning Commission has been issuing guidelines from time to time. But these are not being followed. There is a central tripartite committee to monitor the schemes under SCSP/TSP but it is also not functioning properly. The prime minister himself made a speech on June 27, 2005, saying that the SCSP and TSP should be an integral part of annual as well as five year plans and called for making provisions non-divertible and non-lapsable. The National Advisory Council under the chairmanship of Sonia Gandhi also made some recommendations, recently, in this regard. Many of the reports accept the non-implementation of these schemes and guidelines. But still the problem continues. That is why a comprehensive law is required to curtail diversion/under utilisation of SCSP & TSP allocations and suitable mechanisms should be put in place to monitor this on a regular basis at all levels. Specific guidelines exist that debar states, central ministries/departments who do not properly implement the schemes/guidelines from getting further approval of plan outlays. If these guidelines had been implemented properly, the situation could have improved.  Administrative measures alone cannot ensure implementation of the schemes. Beneficiaries/stakeholders particularly those at the lower level should be involved in the implementation process. Information relating to the schemes should be available in public domain and there should be grievance redressal mechanism. Like in the case of the MGNREGA, social audit can ensure transparency and arrest the misuse/diversion of funds to an extent. All these loopholes should be rectified in the Approach Paper to the Twelfth Five Year Plan. The main reason for this non-implementation of SCSP and TSP is the lack of political will. Therefore, only a countrywide powerful mass movement would force the government to act.



The gap between dalits and non-dalits can be reduced only by strengthening and expanding the policy of empowerment and equal opportunity. In this direction we demand:

1.                 Enact suitable central legislation to enforce allotment to SCSP and TSP and proper utilisation as per the proportion of the population of dalits and tribals.

2.                 Make SCSP and TSP integral part of Annual as well as Five Year Plans and make provisions non-divertible and non-lapsable. Make suitable amendments in the guidelines so that the allotted amount reaches the concerned sections.  The targeted schemes should reach SC/ST individuals, households and localities.

3.                 A White Paper on the status of dalits and implementation of the SCSP and TSP should be released by the government.

4.                 A special session of parliament should be convened to discuss the issues relating to SCs/STs.

5.                 Distribution of land to all landless, a large majority of whom are dalits and adivasis.

6.                 Separate budget heads should be earmarked in every department/ministry’s plan outlay. SC/ST Special Component Plan should be extended to panchayat and municipal budgets.

7.                 A Nodal Agency to coordinate and monitor all departments must be set up.

8.                 Effective monitoring of the SCSP including special officer at district level with powers at par with magistrate should be ensured.

9.                 Social auditing should be done every year. A grievance redressal cell for time-bound redressal of complaints within three months should be set up.

10.             Social Justice Division should be set up under the Planning Commission.

11.             Dalit women should be equally treated and special schemes should be designed in all the schemes implemented under Special Component Plan. Abolish Devadasi system and rehabilitate them with proper care.

12.             More residential schools for SC/ST children should be started.

13.             The term `Special Component Plan’ should be resumed in place of `Sub Plan’.




1.                 Nation-wide movement for proper allocation, effective implementation of SCSP.

2.                 State level conventions before the budget session should be held and submission of memorandum to the government must be made.

3.                 State units should take up the issue at local level.

4.                 Broad-based united action on this issue must be planned.