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CDS-NITI AAYOG Workshop

On 19 August, 2017, the Centre for Development Studies  hosted a workshop on Merger of Plan and Non-Plan Expenditure and Future of Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP), in association with NITI Aayog. The discussion focused upon the two major questions in two sessions, first, issues associated with the allocation and utilization of SC and ST funds, second, alternative arrangements regarding the allocation of funds for SCs and STs.

Key points arising from the workshop are:

  • Enactment of a new central and state legislation on SCSP and TSP.
  • SCSP and TSP should be protected by constitution.
  • Population wise allocation of SCSP and TSP funds.
  • Dearth of data on SC and ST community’s entitlements and vulnerability needs to be addressed.
  • There remains a gap between government and civil society organisations in planning and implementing SCSP and TSP programmes.
  • Landlessness and land alienation needs to addressed with special priority.
  • It is becoming increasingly important to develop SC/ST settlement/colony-wise vulnerability and diversity index before any policy implementation.
  • Tribal customary rights should be protected.
  • State should shift welfare policies to right based policies.
  • Special statutory gram sabha  for SC/ST communities in three tier panchayat system.
  • A mechanism for monitoring the functioning of PESA and FRA in the respective states.
  • Uniform pricing mechanism for Non-timber forest Produces (NTFP).
  • Enhancing community assets.
  • Budget accountability.
  • Special budget for Dalit and Adivasi communities.

Workshop participants were largely drawn from academicians, civil rights activists and government officials, notably, Dr. S. B. Muniraju (NITI Aayog) Jerome D’Souza (Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative, Bengaluru), Prof. R.R. Prasad (NIRD, Hyderabad), Dr. P.Sivanandan (CDS), Dr. Meera Velayudhan (CDS), Shri. M. Geethanandan (Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha), Shri. Ajayakumar (RIGHTS, Thiruvananthapuram), Ms. Nishamol. M (CUSAT, Kochi), Shri. V. Sasikumar (Kerala State Development Corporation for SCs & STs Ltd), Shri. V. K Mohankumar (KILA, Thrissur), Shri. C. Herald John (ITDP, Attappadi), Shri. P.K Sivanandan ( IAS,Rtd) U.P Anilkumar (GIFT, Thiruvananthapuram) and research candidates from Centre for Development Studies. Prof. Sunil Mani, Director, Centre for Development Studies, welcomed the participants and Dr. Abhilash T, Co-ordinator, concluded the workshop.