What Happened to Vanvasis’ Kalyan? – Indian Currents, analysis

On 28 February 2015, Arun Jaitley, the Union Finance Minister presented the first full budget of the NDA government. However, there is nothing in the budget for the 104 million Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) to cheer for. The indigenous inhabitants of this nation are conveniently ignored and side-lined. The Government has not announced any new programme, scheme or legislation for the Adivasis in the budget. Instead, budgetary allocation for welfare and development of the Scheduled Tribes was reduced. The Government has allocated merely Rs. 19,980 crore for the Adivasis, which is even less than the allocation of Rs. 26,715 crore made in previous fiscal year 2014-15. In his budget speech Jaitley claims that his “Government being sensitive to the needs of the poor, under-privileged and the disadvantaged”! The reason given for reduction is “serious constraints”, but it was not made clear. The government would continue with its Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).

What Happened to Vanvasis ’ Kalyan?

This is whenit has been proved that the current top-down approach under the TSP has failed to achieve the objectives and Adivasi rights activists are suggesting that the TSP should be replaced with a Tribal Sustainable Development Plan (TSDP), which would empower the tribals to decide about their development based on their needs and priorities including protection of their distinct identities. The TSDP, they believe, has the potential to reduce the influence of the Naxals in the tribal areas.

Background of Tribal Sub-Plan

Inclusive growth, social and economic development is the ultimate aim of every country. In India, the strategic plans known as ‘five year plans’ were designed accordingly. Unfortunately, a report on ‘Livelihood Options Assets Creation out of Special Component Plan (SCP) & Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) Schemes and its Impact among SCs and STs in India’ by Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS), New Delhi, found that after “ 25 years of independence, and successful completion of four five year and three annual plan, it was realized by policy makers that the Scheduled Tribes are still way behind the mainstream development process.” Apart from this, it was also realized that the general plans, schemes and programmes designed for the overall development of the economy hardly improved socio-economic status of the Scheduled Tribes. Similarly, the benefit of such general welfare schemes did not facilitate the development of tribals in any significant manner.

In order to address the development challenges of tribal communities, t he Tribal Sub Plan strategy was developed by an Expert Committee set up by the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare in 1972, under the Chairmanship of Prof. S C Dube. Finally, the strategy was adopted for the first time in the fifth Five Year Plan and started in fiscal year 1974-75. According to the revised guideline of the Planning Commission (Govt. of India), issued on 31 October, 2005, the broad objectives of the TSP were: 

· Substantial reduction in poverty and unemployment.

· Creation of productive assets in favour of Scheduled Tribes to sustain the growth likely to accrue through development efforts.

· Human resource development of the Scheduled Tribes by providing adequate educational and health services, and

· Provision of physical and financial security against all types of exploitation and oppression.

The funds for TSP were sourced through the following instrumentalities: (i) State Plans; (ii) Funds under TSP components of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) administered by Central Ministries/Departments; (iii) Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan (SCA to TSP), Grant under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution and other schemes implemented by Ministry of Tribal Affairs; (iv) Institutional Finance and (v) Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) of Corporate Entities.

What Happened to Vanvasis ’ Kalyan?

According to a report of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and United Nations Development Programme on the Brainstorming Consultation on Convergence of Resources for Tribal Development, the allocated funds under various instrumentalities of the TSP for last four fiscal years are as shown in Table 1 .

Table 1: Availability of Funds under various instrumentalities

Instrumentalities

Financial Year (INR in crore)

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

Funds under CS/CSS

17453.61

20184.10

22029.97

32386.84

TSP under State Plan

44772.42

55019.05

59937.64

69922.16

Article 275(1)

1015.01

852.54

1050.00

1200.00

SCA to TSP

1111.28

820.00

1097.14

1317.00

Total

64352.32

76875.69

84144.75

104826.00

Source: Ministry of Tribal Affairs, (Govt. of India), 2014 

However, as far as Scheduled Tribes are concerned, there is still huge gap in the human development indicator. The same report gives these figures: 47.4 percent tribal population in rural area and 30.4 percent in the urban area is below poverty line, the households covered by a health scheme is merely 2.6 percent, 68.5 percent tribal women are anaemic, drinking water facility available with the premises is merely 19.7 percent, literacy rate is 58.9 percent and child mortality rate remains at 35.8 percent. This clearly means that the fund allocated for them are not being properly utilized for their welfare and development.

Problems in the implementation of Tribal Sub-Plan:

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs categorically states in the above mentioned report that the ‘availability of funds is not the real constraint in achieving the intended targets. Instead, effective monitoring, accountability and management thereof appear to the issues of concern’. Therefore, one needs to find out the major lacunas in the TSP Strategy to address the development challenges. There are some major areas of concerns under the Tribal Sub-Plan, which needs to be addressed in order to ensure that the tribal people get sole benefit of the fund allocated for them, which would result in improvement in their living standards. 

I) Inadequate Budget Allocation:

First area of concern is allocation of budgetary provision less than the percentage of ST population. According to the TSP strategy as per the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, ‘ the funds provided under the Tribal Sub-Plan have to be at least equal in proportion to the ST population of each State or UT. However, the Table 2 shows that the average budget allocation under the Tribal Sub-Plan for previous five fiscal years is about 1.4 percent of the Union Budget, which is 7.2 percent less comparing to the total population of Scheduled Tribes in India, which is 8.6 percent. This is clear denial of due share of fund to the tribal community. During fiscal year 2011-12 to 2015-16 Rs. 5,66,079 crore was denied to the Adivasi community under the Tribal Sub-plan.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *