Dec. 21 PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd), former Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Welfare, and Member, National Monitoring Committee for Education of SCs, STs and Persons with Disabilities, Government of India, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought “imperative need” to enact national legislation for Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes (SCP) and Tribal sub-Plan (TsP) and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Authorities in the current winter session of Parliament in order to enable SCs and STs to reach level of equality in all parameters.
Text of the letter:
I have no doubt you have taken note of the results of the recent three Hindu heartland State elections. You are now preparing for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. No doubt, you will be taking measures to resolve to the maximum extent possible serious problems like unemployment and rural distress.
But, in addition, specific measures are required to remove the gap between the SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEdBCs), on the one side, and the Socially Advanced Classes (SACs), i.e., the non-SC, non-ST, non-SEdBC castes (NSCTBCs), on the other side, which exists in every aspect and parameter of development, welfare and life. This gap is the legacy of our caste system through the past many centuries. This legacy is continuing through the decades of our Independence till today, for want of focused comprehensive measures of Social Justice, which include reservation and many other measures besides. Special comprehensive measures, directly and exclusively for these deprived classes are necessary to enable them to reach the level of Equality with the SACs. This is necessary to make your stirring call for “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.
As I have pointed out earlier and as you will appreciate, no Party and no Government can have sustained success unless the rights and needs of the SCs, STs and SEdBCs, who constitute about 3/4th of the country’s population and almost the entirety of our physical labour force, are completely fulfilled. This is borne out by the present election results in the three States where SCs and STs have largely voted against the incumbent ruling parties, as they were dissatisfied with their performance with regard to their issues, just as they voted out in 2014 the then incumbent ruling party and Coalition at the Centre for the same reason.
I am writing this specifically about one most important legislation required for the SCs and STs, namely, the National Legislation for “Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes (SCP) and Tribal sub-Plan (TsP) and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Authorities”. This legislation, if properly formulated along the lines of the draft Bill which I have prepared and which I had sent you in February 2014 and subsequently, and if it is implemented effectively, will operate as a key for the holistic advancement of SCs and STs to the level of SACs, in every parameter of development, welfare and life.
This legislation needs to be enacted in the present winter session of the Parliament, which is the last complete session of this Lok Sabha. This will go a long way in assuaging the feelings of resentment which widespread among the SCs and STs. Further, helping to remove the gap between them and the SACs and thus establishing Real Equality in all respects, it will lay the foundation for making caste irrelevant and thereby annihilate the caste system, which was the goal laid down by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and also by many other reformers like Basaveswara, Narayana Guru, Periyar etc, and thereby also lay the foundation for unified nation, for as Dr Ambedkar pointed out in his landmark Address to the Constituent Assembly on 25. 11. 1949, Caste is anti-National.
I am writing this specifically for this crucial legislation. This will be followed by another letter about other important legislations required for SCs and STs in this session and also a full Road-Map of legislative measures and programmatic/schematic measures required to bring about Equality for SCs, STs, and also SEdBCs, with the SACs.
I request you to kindly give me time on the earliest day for me to meet you in connection with this legislation. I may also mention that members of the National Forum for SCP and TsP, who are from different States and who are senior persons who have won respect among the SCs and STs of their States, will be meeting at Delhi 02.01. 2019. A positive response from you to my request in this letter will be carried by them to the people of their respective States.*
PS Krishnan believes that the National Legislation for Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes (SCP) and Tribal sub-Plan (TsP) and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Authorities”, which need to be enacted in the Winter Session of Parliament 2018, should should, among other things, provide for:
- Setting apart, as the corpus of the SCP, before the Plan/developmental outlay is allocated sector-wise and Ministry/Department-wise, a proportion of the total outlay which is not less than the proportion of the SC population in the total population of the country in the case of the Central Plan/developmental outlay and of the respective States in the case of State Plans/developmental outlays.
- Planning and allocations for programmes and schemes relevant to SCs and issue of sanctions of funds should be undertaken to the extent of these two corpus outlays solely on the basis of the needs and priorities respectively of SCs in keeping with the overarching goals of their economic liberation, educational parity at all levels with the Socially Advanced Castes (SACs), equality in all developmental and welfare parameters with the SACs, and social dignity and security, and consisting of schemes, programmes and projects, of which the beneficiaries are only SC individuals, SC families, SC groups and SC habitations and SC institutions, and which will eliminate the gap between SCs and SACs in each and every parameter of development and welfare.
- Entrustment of this corpus and the task of relevant planning and issue of sanctions and close monitoring of implementing Ministries/ Departments/other Agencies to whom funds are sanctioned from the SCP, timely remedial corrections, etc., to dedicated expert bodies, namely, the National SC Development Authority (NSCDA) for the Central Plan, the State SC Development Authorities (SSCDAs) in each State and UT for the State Plan and the District SC Development Authorities (DSCDAs) in each district for implementation, monitoring and, based on wide consultations from the village-level upwards, feedback to NSCDA and SSCDAs to facilitate Plan formulation and, where required, timely corrective measures where required; vesting functional, financial and administrative autonomy in the NSCDA and SSCDAs; and providing all functional facilities that they need and ask for. The full-time Members of the NSCDAs and SSCDs (apart from ex-officio Members) should be persons of relevant expertise and devotion to the task of the development and progress of SCs.
- Similar steps for STs and Tribal sub-Plan (TsP), utilizing in particular the people’s structure created under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas), Act (PESA) and, on the basis of the needs and priorities of STs, in keeping with the overarching goals mentioned in the case of SCs and SCP and in addition the overarching goal of protection of their distinct cultures and cultural identities and territorial and local autonomy.
- Restoration of the original meaningful name of “Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes (SCP)” which existed from 1978 to 2006 instead of the downgraded name of Scheduled Castes sub-Plan (SCSP) introduced in 2006 as what SCs need and are entitled to is a Plan and not a sub-Plan. Credit