The Modi government came to power in 2014 with high emphasis on good governance and inclusive development for all. However, the policy declarations and the practical implications have two different stories to tell. The constitutional rights of Dalit communities come under severe stress in the past five years of the NDA government. There were several cases of violence and mob lynching in name of beef consumption, targeting inter-caste married couples and caste discrimination in centres of higher learning. The dichotomy is evident. A Dalit is appointed as the first citizen of the country. Yet, atrocities against Dalits and inhuman behaviour towards them have increased colossally. While on one hand, the government passed the SC/ST PoA Act with necessary amendments, on the other hand, they have overseen the dilution of the entire Act. This has had a negative impact on Dalit communities: from access to education to the Swachh Bharat Mission and from decreasing unemployment to low allocation in budget, the progress of Dalit communities has been halted in the last five years.
CHARGE 1: INCREASING VIOLENCE AGAINST DALITS
- The Government passed SC/ST PoA Act with necessary amendments. But the government has overseen the dilution of the entire Act resulting in negative impact to the community as a whole. The 2016 National Crime Records Bureau data showed a significant increase in the crimes reported against Dalits from 38,670 cases in 2015 to 40801 cases in 2016.
- Among these staggering figures, Supreme Court in its judgment dated 20.03.2018, failed to recognize increase in atrocities against Scheduled Castes by 5.5 percent in 2016 (40,801) over 2015 (38,670) and increase atrocities against Scheduled Tribes by 4.7 percent in 2016 (6,568) over 2015 (6,276).
- The apex court further failed to recognise the low disposal rate by courts in the recent years. A total of 1,44,979 cases of atrocities against SCs and 23,408 cases of atrocities against STs came for trial in the court. Of these, trials were completed in only 14,615 cases of the cases against SCs and 2,895 cases for STs. At the end of the year 89.6 percent of cases for SCs and 87.1 percent for STs remained pending trial.
CHARGE 2: LOW DISBURSAL OF FUNDS OF FOR PROGRAMMES UNDER SCSP
- Of the total Plan budget of Rs.15, 90,287 Crore for the period, an average of 7.49 percent was disbursed for programmes under SCSP for SCs.
- A total amount of Rs. 2,63,988 Crore was not allocated under the SCSP as stipulated in the guidelines. Similarly, in the same period, of the total Plan budget of Rs. 15, 90,287 Crore for that period, only 4.76 percent was disbursed for programmes under TSP for STs. In all, Rs.1,36,765 Crore was not allocated under the TSP in accordance with the ST population proportion as per the Jadhav committee guidelines for allocation of funds.
- In the FY 2017-18 and 2018-19, the allocation for SCs and STs has been worse when compared to premerger (plan and non-plan) period. Analysis of these two years reveals that 7.73 percent was disbursed for the SC welfare schemes/SCC and 4.98 percent for ST welfare schemes/STC.
- A total amount of Rs.1, 32,016 Crore was not allocated towards SC welfare and Rs 53, 815 Crore towards ST welfare, as per, Jadhav committee guidelines and budget circular of Ministry of Finance 2017-18 and 2018-19. The proportionate allocation towards welfare of SCs and STs in last five years has seen only negligible 7.59 percent increase under scheduled caste component (SCC) and 4.85 percent increase under scheduled tribe component (STC).
CHARGE 3: DALIT STUDENTS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
- The lack of release of scholarships has resulted in high drop-outs of Dalits from higher education.
- The suicide of Rohith Vemula in January 2016, led to a movement for more democratic educational spaces. This exposed the layered violence and discrimination faced by Dalits. The caste bias manifests itself in the lack of attention from teachers, unjustly failing them in exams, social exclusion, physical abuse, and the universities’ unwillingness to support Dalit students.
- A disproportionate number of SC/ST students have committed suicide in lack of availability of scholarships. About Rs 5,000 crores of post matric scholarship funds are still pending by Government of India.
CHARGE 4: SC & ST CANDIDATES ROBBED OF LAKHS OF TEACHING JOBS
- Reservation for SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEdBCs) in recruitment to faculty posts in universities/colleges/other educational institutions was being implemented with the educational institution as a unit as per Guidelines issued by the UGC on August 25, 2006. But this was upset by the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in Vivekanand Tiwari case on April 7, 2017, which directed each Department be taken as a unit for implementing reservation so as to secure presence of SC, ST and SEdBCs in all Departments.
CHARGE 5: SWACCH BHARAT MISSION FAILS TO ADDRESS CASTE BIAS
- Swacch Bharat Mission guidelines have missed out on the psycho-social aspect of the clean India campaign. Cleaners of sewage, drains and streets come from Dalit communities. Yet, segregation of work based on caste does not find place in SBM. Most cleaners are contractual workers with no social security. Safaikarmcharis end up living in subhuman conditions in areas that absorb city’s garbage.