KEY HIGHLIGHTS :
- Excluding the generic expenditure that NDA deceitfully passed off as meant for Adivasi welfare (such as grants towards infrastructure maintenance, Good Governance Fund, Sports Authority of India etc.), what emerges is that the NDA allocated 52% less than what was allocated in UPA’s 2014- ’15 budget.
- Government has systematically diluted several Acts (MMRDA, Land Acquisition Act etc.) to allow corporates to acquire Adivasi and forest land without the consent of Adivasis and gram sabhas, and without giving Adivasis compensation or rehabilitation.
- To allow corporates to loot Adivasi lands, BJP has established the National Tribal Advisory Council which systematically undermined the Governors, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Advisory Councils.
- Re-establishing the Company Raj, BJP’s draconian amendments to the Indian Forest Act give forest officials the power to shoot Adivasis without any liability! Similarly, officials can withdraw Adivasis rights on a whim, and forcefully relocate them against their will. Finally, forest officials can hand over forests to private companies arbitrarily.
CHARGE 1: ADIVASIS UNDER ATTACK UNDER THE NDA GOVERNMENT
- Modi Sarkar’s amendments to the Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation Act & Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act (MMRDA) allows private companies to acquire Adivasi and forest land without the free and informed consent of gram sabhas.
- Amendments to the MMRDA Act has ensured that Adivasis & forest dwellers can be arbitrarily evicted without any compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement.
- The NDA’s proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act includes giving forest officials the power to shoot Adivasis without any liability; allowing forest officials to withdraw Adivasis rights without cause and to forcefully relocate them against their will; handing over forests arbitrarily to private companies for afforestation etc.
- By failing to defend the Forest Rights Act before the Supreme Court of India, BJP seeks to undermine the rights of Adivasis over their own land.
- PM Modi’s National Tribal Advisory Council illegally usurps the powers of the Governors, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Advisory Councils in the states. This has not only destroyed federal and democratic principles, but also led to the plunder of forest land for myopic commercial projects.
CHARGE 2: DRASTIC CUTS IN EXPENDITURE FOR ADIVASI WELFARE
Under the NDA, Tribal Sub-Plan (renamed Scheduled Tribe Component) expenditure dropped from Rs. 32,387 crores (2014-’15) to Rs. 20,000 crores (2015-’16) and to Rs. 24,005 crores (2016-’17). Even though it increased to Rs. 31,920 crores (2017-’18), what the NDA has done is added non-targeted generic/administrative expenditure (such as grants towards infrastructure maintenance, farm loan waivers, Good Governance Fund, Sports Authority of India etc.) as Adivasi welfare to inflate figures. If these are excluded, what emerges is that compared to UPA’s interim budget (2014-’15), the NDA has slashed funds for Adivasi welfare by almost 52%!
- Ambedkar had started the Post-Matric Scholarship in 1945 to uplift and empower the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Yet Modi ji deliberately withheld Rs. Rs. 2,871 crore of the Post-Matric Scholarship meant for Adivasis in the first three years of its governance. Consequently, lakhs of Adivasis, who depend on scholarships and bursaries have been denied financial support.
CHARGE 3: THE NDA GOVERNMENT’S ECOLOGICAL IMPERIALISM
- The NDA’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund (Management & Planning Authority Act) (CAMPA) promotes monoculture afforestation which destroys the rich variety of flora and fauna, and also adversely affects the livelihoods and food security of Adivasis.