People's Democracy

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


No. 03

January 15, 2012



‘Increase Budgetary

Allocations For Tribals’


A JOINT delegation of the Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) and the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD) met with the union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on January 11 and submitted a memorandum on the demands of adivasis in the context of the forthcoming budget. The finance minister assured the delegation of sympathetic consideration of their demands. The delegation, while welcoming the initiative in the last budget for a separate accounting system for TSP (Tribal Sub-Plan) pointed out the serious problems revealed by the figures. The central government’s allocations fall far short of the mandatory allocation of at least 8.5 per cent of the budget, proportionate to the tribal population, for tribal development. In the 2011-12 budget it was only around 5.6 per cent. Moreover, the allocation for tribal specific schemes is a dismal 1.41 per cent of the budget. The delegation listed a series of critical issues which require a far increased allocation such as automatic inclusion of all ST communities in BPL lists and requisite budgetary allocations for that, a special central scheme for expanding government procurement and guaranteeing a minimum support price for minor forest produce including medicinal plants, increase in stipends of students, setting up of vocational training centres in tribal blocks etc. 


The delegation also pointed out that the allocations being made to MoEF for the Green India Mission and other afforestation programmes are being used against tribals as the Forest Departments are indiscriminately planting trees on tribals' and other forest dwellers' lands denying them their rights. It suggested that as an interim measure, pending the democratisation of all afforestation schemes, the allocation of funds should be given under the joint jurisdiction of the Tribal Affairs Ministry, the Panchayat Raj Ministry along with MoEF to ensure that the provisions of the Forest Rights Act and the PESAA are complied with and the rights and powers of forest dwelling communities respected.


The delegation also called for a central monitoring body and annual public reports on the Tribal Sub Plan. The delegation called for allocations to the state governments to be conditional on compliance with the PESAA and the Forest Rights Act, as well as other measures to ensure transparency.


The delegation comprised of AARM leaders Brinda Karat, Bajuban Riyan, Dulichand and CSD representative Shankar Gopalakrishnan.


Below we give the full text of the memorandum:





We appreciate that in Budget 2011-12, for the first time, specific allocations were earmarked towards the TSP- Tribal Sub-Plan. (Para 95 of your budget speech, 2011) These were shown as Statement 21A in Volume 1 of the Expenditure Budget. The figures are revealing and point to the serious problems regarding allocations and expenditures. In budgetary allocations for tribal communities the strategy has been two-fold: firstly through schemes which are tribal specific and secondly through expenditures on tribal development in general schemes. Together these allocations and expenditures constitute the Tribal Sub-Plan. While 8.2 per cent of the total budgetary allocations should be made for the TSP, the allocations/expenditures in consecutive budgets have fallen far short of the target. In the last budget, taking both the 100 per cent allocation schemes for STs (Part A of TSP statement) as well as schemes where there are 20 per cent allocations (Part B), the total comes to around 5.6 per cent of the budget. We therefore urge you to increase the allocations to at least 8.5 per cent for the TSP. Secondly, a critical issue in the allocations is that whereas schemes which have a 100 per cent allocation for tribals make up only around one fourth of the total TSP, the schemes which claim a 20 per cent allocation for tribals, constitute the major portion of the TSP. Given the huge gap between tribals and the rest of the population that exists in critical areas of social development, allocations for schemes which address the specific needs of tribal areas must get higher allocations. Budgetary allocations for schemes with 100 per cent expenditure for tribal development must be increased.


Grand Total of Schemes for the development of Scheduled tribes: Statement 21


A: Expenditure Budget Vol 1 2011-2012 (in crores of  rupees)

Budget Support for Central Plan

Rs. 335521.00


Total Allocation for TSP

Rs. 18, 625.91   

Percentage of TSP to Budget

5.6 per cent

Part A of TSP (Schemes with 100 per cent allocations for tribals

Rs. 4732.51

Part A as percentage of TSP

Part A as percentage of Total Budget

25 per cent

1.41 per cent

Part B of TSP (Schemes which assume 20 per cent allocation)

Rs. 13,893.40

Part B as percentage of TSP

75 per cent




Since Part B accounts for as much as 75 per cent of the expenditures on schemes for development of tribal communities, it is essential to scrutinise these closely. At present there is no system to check whether the ministries are actually spending 20 per cent as part of TSP as claimed. To illustrate the problems:  the Ministry for School Education and Literacy has shown Rs 128 crore expenditure for STs in the programme to set up 6000 schools at block level as benchmarks of excellence (Part B, Demand No. 58, 16). But on the ground both the percentage of beneficiaries and the actual amount spent in tribal areas seems far lower than 20 per cent. In fact there are very few such schools in tribal blocks. It is the same situation with the ICDS allocations, the mid-day meal scheme allocations and the health allocations. Have the ministries just calculated what 20 per cent of the allocations would be and put the figure? This is what was done for the gender budgeting earlier. Therefore while it is a positive step that ministries are being asked to specify expenditures, what is required is a strict monitoring process to ensure that the TSP is not reduced to a mere accounting exercise to inflate expenditure under TSP. We, therefore, request you in this budget not to accept the ministries/department statements at face value as part of TSP. A dedicated body is required at the central level to monitor and report on TSP expenditures; this should include an annual public review of the actual expenditure in adivasi areas.


Allocations Under Article 275(1): An amount of Rs 1197 crore, the highest for any direct scheme, was allocated under Article 275(1) in the 2011-2012 budget. However there is no transparency regarding the actual schemes for which this amount was used. Whereas we support the rights of state governments to get assistance for their own schemes under this constitutional provision, it is essential to ensure greater transparency so that these schemes reflect the needs of tribal communities. All proposals for special central assistance to the states should be mandatorily placed in the state assemblies as a condition for central allocations.


Allocations for Schemes under TSP:  In the last budget  Rs 1096 crore was allocated under this scheme to the states. The Planning Commission has guidelines for schemes in TSP areas. The allocations must be made conditional to the fulfillment of those guidelines and  implementation of PESAA and FRA.




Among the major allocation increases we request are the following:


1. Food subsidy:  We request you to increase expenditures to include all ST communities, who are the most malnourished, as eligible for BPL subsidies. The present design of the socio-economic caste census (SECC) 2011 which will be used to decide BPL/APL categories puts ST communities at a disadvantage. We request you to include STs as BPL categories and increase the food subsidy accordingly. We see this as an interim measure towards a universal PDS that is the only way to guarantee food security.


2. MSP for Minor Forest produce: In the last budget the grants for State Corporations for minor forest produce was very insubstantial at only Rs 20 crore. Minor Forest produce continues to be a very important source of livelihood for tribal communities particularly for tribal women. In many states tribal knowledge of medicinal plants can be utilised for enhancing health benefits as well as being a very important source of income for tribals. In this context the National Board for Medicinal Plants can play a very important role. We would therefore request you to develop a scheme for minor forest produce and medicinal plants which would guarantee a centrally backed minimum support price mechanism and extension of procurement operations to all MFPs. This will be a historic contribution for enhancing tribal livelihoods and would be the next logical step after the Forest Rights Act gave community rights to tribals in forests.

3. Debt Relief: We would like to re-emphasise our appeal to you for a special package for debt relief for tribal farmers who have been unable to avail of the benefits of the debt waiver scheme since most tribals are indebted to private moneylenders and institutional lending is low. We also request special targets for institutional lending for STs. We also request special schemes for ST women’s Self-Help Groups who have very poor linkages with bank credit.

4. Student Stipend: At a time of high inflation the stipends for ST students are meagre and impossible to subsist on. We therefore request a higher stipend.

5. ITIs and Vocational Training: At present there is no focus on setting up ITI centres in tribal blocks or tribal dominated areas. Skill Development Initiatives in the last budget were allocated only Rs 16.40 crore while upgradation of ITIs got only Rs 3 lakhs! This is a critical area to ensure employment opportunities for ST youth. We therefore request you to have a special scheme for setting up such training and vocational centres in tribal blocks.




In your budget speech in 2011 you had a special mention of climate change and Green India Mission and allocated Rs 200 crore for the Mission. The entire amount for this and for similar large afforestation programmes is allocated through the MoEF. However, in the experience of tribal communities, this Mission is being often used to plant trees on tribal land to deprive tribals of their rights under FRA. Under the Green Mission there are no protections on tribal land. The community rights and powers of the local communities are not respected. Often the species of trees planted are destructive of ground water levels and equally important, the trees do not provide livelihood opportunities for tribals. Therefore since the FRA has specifically given tribals rights and powers for the care of forests, allocations for Green Mission or afforestation must include the role of tribal communities. Pending the full overhaul and democratisation of these schemes, we would request you to shift the focus of allocations for Green Mission to a joint jurisdiction of the Tribal Affairs, Panchayati Raj and MoEF.


We request you to take appropriate steps in the budgetary allocations and schemes which will help tribal communities.