Locals fear losing homes to Annabhau Sathe memorial

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_locals-fear-losing-homes-to-annabhau-sathe-memorial_1402156

Locals fear losing homes to Annabhau Sathe memorial
Akshay Deshmane / DNAMonday, June 28, 2010 1:26 IST

Mumbai: Even as social justice minister Sachin Ahir declared that the
government has cleared all issues related to its plan of building a
memorial for Marathi Dalit littérateur Annabhau Sathe at Chiragnagar
in Ghatkopar, residents of the area are not in favour of the memorial.

The locals complain that there was no public consultation by the
government, and they fear that the memorial could leave them homeless.

The memorial, if built, will force about 100 families from 3 chawls to
look for accommodation elsewhere. “How can you expect families
residing in the locality for so many decades to just leave? I have
been staying here for the past 25 years,” said Juliana Brags, a
resident of Chawl No. 5. The residents insist that Ahir once visit the
area and clarify the government’s plans.

“We thought the matter had been closed. But after Ahir’s announcement,
we are worried. We were informed about the project in December 2009
when officials from the collector’s office and the surveyor’s office
came to survey the area. They told us that a memorial was being
planned,” added Brags.

According to locals, in February 2010, officials forcefully conducted
another survey. “On March 4, we wrote a letter to the chief minister
and other officials, but didn’t get any response,” said Brags.

Another local, Sheikh Aarif Hussain, who resides close to Sathe’s
house in Abdul Pathan Chawl, said, “In April, officials from the
collector’s office arrived with police bandobast. They took signatures
and thumb impressions of those who objected to the construction of a
memorial. And now they announce that they are going ahead with the
memorial.”

Caretaker of Annabhau Sathe’s home, Namdeo Sathe, who also organises
events in memory of the writer throughout the year, said he does not
know if the state will allot him a home or a job, if they do build a
memorial. Namdeo is hoping that he gets a government job once the
memorial is built.

Even the daughters of Annabhau Sathe — Shantabai Dodke and
Shakuntalabai Saptal — are in the dark about the memorial. “We have
not been consulted by the government for the memorial. We came to know
about the plans through newspapers,” said Dodke.

Advertisements

Dalits News Updates 29.06.10

News Updates 29.06.10

Dalit groom hurt in clash – Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Dalit-groom-hurt-in-clash/articleshow/6100134.cms

Girl set ablaze by boyfriend in UP – Zee News

http://www.zeenews.com/news637366.html

Centre steps in to reactivate SC, ST sub-plans – Times Of Ondia

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Centre-steps-in-to-reactivate-SC-ST-sub-plans/articleshow/6098804.cms

SC, ST body holds rally before Assembly, protests exploitation – The Pioneer

http://www.dailypioneer.com/265724/SC-ST-body-holds-rally-before-Assembly-protests-exploitation.html

Dalits take out march to SP office – The Hindu

http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/29/stories/2010062953840300.htm

Equal opportunity – Deccan Herald

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/78099/equal-opportunity.html

Times Of India

Breaking News:

Dalit groom hurt in clash

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Dalit-groom-hurt-in-clash/articleshow/6100134.cms

TNN, Jun 28, 2010, 05.52am IST

JAIPUR: A Dalit groom and his relatives were allegedly manhandled by youths of Rajput community when the groom tried to enter a Shiva temple in Basna village under Bansur police station of Alwar district. At least, 12 persons were injured in the clash.

Later, the marriage procession was escorted by police. Bansur Police have registered a case and have started investigation.

According to reports, Mohan Lal, accompanied by freinds and relatives, was on his way Badagaon village for his marriage. Trouble started when Mohan Lal wanted to visit a Shiva temple. When the procession reached Shiva temple, a group of people from Rajput community tried to stop them. This infuriated the Dalits and they clashed.

SP Alok Vashisht told TOI that the situation was controlled and the injured were taken to hospital. The marriage procession was escorted to the venue and a case was registered later. Police said that four persons, including two women were hurt.

District collector KL Meena said additional police force has been deployed in the area and senior administrative officials and policemen are camping in the village.

Gopalji of Dalit Adhikar Samiti said eight persons, including the groom were injured. “The samiti would agitate if no action is taken against the guilty. Even after decades of Independence, Dalits are not allowed to enter temples,” he added.

Zee News

Girl set ablaze by boyfriend in UP

http://www.zeenews.com/news637366.html

Updated on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 14:04 IST

Pratapgarh (UP): A Dalit girl was allegedly set ablaze by her boyfriend after she refused his marriage proposal in Jethwara area of the district, police said here on Tuesday.

Suman was set afire by Chand Babu when she was alone at her Nagaria Ramnagar village residence yesterday. The girl was admitted to a hospital, where she succumbed to injuries, they said.

The girl was having an affair with Babu. The boy yesterday asked her to marry him to which she refused. Agitated with the refusal, Babu poured kerosene oil on Suman and set her ablaze, they said.

A case had been lodged and efforts were being made to arrest Babu, who was absconding after the incident. PT

Times Of Ondia

Centre steps in to reactivate SC, ST sub-plans

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Centre-steps-in-to-reactivate-SC-ST-sub-plans/articleshow/6098804.cms

Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN, Jun 28, 2010, 02.00am IST

NEW DELHI: Fresh attempts are afoot to activate the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan, with social justice ministry raising an alarm with the PM over their non-implementation and the Planning Commission constituting a task force for their review.

The SCSP and TSP stipulate that every government programme should have part of the budget earmarked for SCs/STs in proportion of their population.

Sources said social justice minister Mukul Wasnik has written to PM Manmohan Singh that the sub-plan was lying in disuse and was in dire need for attention.

The Plan panel’s decision to constitute a task force to revisit the issue seems part of an attempt to get the sub-plans off the ground after a study found their implemention to be dismal.

Planning Commssion member Narendra Jadhav told TOI that only 20% of the Union ministries had implemented plans for allocating 15% and 7.5% of their programme money for SCs and STs. The situation is no better with states as most of them either do not follow the guidelines or divert the allocations under SCSP and TSP to other heads.

The task force, headed by Jadhav, will comprise the Union secretaries of tribal affairs and social justice, and secretaries of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Chandrapal, former adviser with the Plan panel who revised the guidelines for the non-lapsable, non-divertible sub-plan in 2006, said, “The idea was to ensure that benefits of the welfare schemes go to SCs/STs. Special programmes funded by sub-plans should also be designed for them.” The underlying reason behind creating the sub-plans was that systemic bias was preventing the weak groups from benefiting from welfare schemes.

The new task force within four years of the revision of the guidelines and approval by National Development Council only shows that implementation has been poor.

While indifference has been the bane of the sub-plans, a review by Centre, Plan panel and states may highlight the difficulties in dividing budgets along community lines.

Sources said infrastructure-related ministries have expressed inability in making allocations for SCs/STs as facilities like roads and transport are used by people across communities. It may result in the Plan panel identifying programmes where SCSP and TSP can be implemented.

“We can introduce flexibility in guidelines. The idea is that sub-plans should work,” a functionary said.

The Pioneer

SC, ST body holds rally before Assembly, protests exploitation

http://www.dailypioneer.com/265724/SC-ST-body-holds-rally-before-Assembly-protests-exploitation.html

PNS | Bhubaneswar

The conglomeration of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) organisations in the State held a massive protest rally during the ongoing Budget Session of the Assembly at the PMG Square here on Monday.

They alleged that, the SCs and STs in the State have been exploited, oppressed and meted out sheer injustice for the last 10 years in various ways.

Demanding the revocation of the controversial circular allegedly abolishing the State implemented SC/ST reservations, despite being in force, the conglomeration spurned the stance standing in way of regularisation of about two crore SC/ST candidates in the garb of the contractual appointments.

They also demanded implementation of the 38 per cent reservation, in effect since 2006, for the SC/ST students in the educational institutions and implementation of the statutory reservations as per the 77 Constitutional Amendment till the suppertime scale.

Two SC/ST members should represent each in the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC), they added. The reservation law should also be implemented in the MoU inked by the State for industrialisation and in the ongoing privatisation spree.

As the 20 lakh Sabar, Sahar and Saar are synonymous, they all must be treated in the scheduled list and should not be divested of reaping the special benefits entitled to them by the State. It was also demanded that, the 29 senior SC/ST officers deprived of promotion from the desk officer post to the under secretary post in the State Secretariat should be given justice soon.

Prominent among others were Odisha SC/ST Legislature Council general secretary and former MLA Sura Sethy, former Union Minister Bhajamana Behera, State RPI president Sheikh Abdul Walli and Employees’ Welfare Council general secretary Narayan Chandra Das.

The Hindu

Dalits take out march to SP office

http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/29/stories/2010062953840300.htm

Special Correspondent

KANNUR: A march was taken out to the office of the Superintendent of Police here on Monday demanding the arrest of those responsible for the death of a Dalit youth at Puthiyatheru here two months ago.

Death of youth

The march was organised by the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Action Committee demanding that the culprits responsible for the death of K. Vineesh, who was found hanging at his house at Puthiyatheru on April 17 last, be arrested.

The march was inaugurated by Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha leader and Dalit activist M. Geethanandan.

Allegation

He alleged that the youth had been beaten up by a group of suspected workers of an extremist outfit on April 16. The action committee alleged that the police had treated the death of Vineesh as a suicide case, and that the youth had been murdered and then hanged.

It demanded that the police register a murder case.

Deccan Herald

Equal opportunity

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/78099/equal-opportunity.html

By B G Verghese

The Constitution speaks of ‘equality of status and opportunity,’ which rules out caste as a defining societal principle.

It is a thousand pities that 62 years after Independence, India is still talking of and suffering from caste obsessions. Read gotra as an extension of caste and we have ‘honour killings,’ — acts of medieval barbarism at the behest of khap panchayats, being defended and debated. The motive for the most part is no longer religion or ritual even in some degree, as it once may have been, but crudely political, through vote-banking, a scramble for preferment by reservation in an economy of shortages, and a claim to superior social status in an upwardly mobile society that has traditionally been based on hierarchy, not merit.

The current debate has been triggered by the suggestion that caste enumeration be made part of the 2011 census after it was discontinued post-1931. The proffered rationale is that an accurate caste enumeration will enable the government to better target affirmative action programmes in its social welfare and other efforts to ensure inclusive growth. This is a fallacy. Such numbers and classifications are and can be made available – and perhaps more accurately – through the National Social Sample and similar data collection exercises.

The Constitution abolishes untouchability and only mentions caste in the specific context of scheduled castes. Contrary to popular belief, it does not refer to ‘backward castes’ but only to ‘socially and economically backward classes’ (and to ‘weaker sections’) in respect of whom a commission may be appointed from time to time to investigate and make recommendations for ameliorating their condition.
Nor does the Constitution refer to a casteless society per se but speaks of ‘equality of status and opportunity,’ ‘fraternity’ and a uniform civil code, all of which obviously rule out caste as a defining societal principle. So why reverse gear half way through the journey and give a fillip to caste through the census?

All parties have elaborate caste and community breakdowns of the electorate for every constituency and woo them assiduously, the Left as much as any other. Policies and appointments are made with an eye on winning the support of these groups for electoral advantage. The talk of targeting welfare schemes through more nuanced caste enumeration is just so much humbug.

Indeed reservation, and reservations within reservations, have become a crutch. There has been strong resistance to any exit policy and creamy layers have become a new privileged and exploiting class, determined to prevent the less fortunate among their community to rise and proper.

Everybody, it seem, wants to be declared ‘backward’ in order to move forward on crutches. The process of sanskritisation or movement up the caste ladder is being reversed and retribalisation is taking place. This spells ill for the nation and can only breed mediocrity. One antidote would be to declare the entire populace backward so that none is more equal than others!

Affirmative action

The real answer, however, lies in affirmative action in favour of the poor and disadvantaged and to waste out the constitutional provision for SC/ST reservation over the next decade or so on the basis of a rational exit policy, universalisation of education and other rights-based measures.

Caste must be seen not in isolation but holistically as part of other behavioural attitudes such as gender or minority status. Majority and minority in terms of social behaviour are not numerical as much as attitudinal categories. Parsees do not behave as ‘minorities’; Hindutvadis do. Gender relations (including dowry) are to a large extent guided deep down by property and property-derived status considerations. Hence the ugly and murderous phenomenon of female feticide.

One supreme example of attitudinal resistance to social reform is the blindly perverse opposition to legislating a uniform civil code on the totally false premise that this can only be done by abrogating personal codes. With reference to the UCC, many perfervid secularists are truly diehard communists, allied in a common conspiracy to protect male property rights and slot people into castes, sub-castes and communities. They are truly enemies of equality and fraternity.

Those who oppose caste enumeration must therefore take up cudgels against ‘minorityism’ and gender discrimination as part of broadbased social reform. The goal must be to strive for equal opportunity (not more and more reservation), a fundamental constitutional promise. Equal opportunity legislation has been pending for a year but is being opposed. Why is no one agitated? It is because we have been so busy tilting at windmills that the true enemy is often not discerned. It is the battle for equal opportunity that must be fought and won.

Social reform too must be pursued not just by the state but by communities and individuals. There is so much social rot around that we tolerate in the belief that it will just go away. Where are the contemporary versions of latter day social reformers? The church seeks the scheduling of scheduled caste converts, indirectly perpetuating caste and mocking its own faith. Others are no better.

Jagmohan, the former civil servant and minister, has written of reforming and reawakening Hinduism in a new book just published. Maybe one of the reform

MMRPS to agitate for SC classification

http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/28/stories/2010062857460300.htm

Andhra Pradesh – Kadapa

MMRPS to agitate for SC classification

Special Correspondent

We will stage protests in front of the houses of Ministers, MPs, MLAs:
Devaiah Madiga

KADAPA: Maha Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MMRPS)
founder-president S. Devaiah Madiga asserted on Sunday that the
samithi would not only agitate for achieving micro-classification of
Scheduled Castes in the State, but would strive to ensure that the
fruits of developmental programmes and welfare schemes implemented by
the Central and State government reached Madigas and its sub-castes.

MMRPS committees would exert pressure on the Central and State
governments in a peaceful manner and stage protests in front of the
houses of Ministers, MPs and MLAs in pursuance of their demand, he
said. The problems confronting the Madiga community would remain
unresolved until micro-classification was achieved, he asserted at a
news conference here.

There was no rift between the Mala and Madiga Communities and they
developed on education, employment and political lines when the
previous government enacted a legislation classifying the SCs, he
stated. Development of Madiga community was hampered ever since the
micro-classification was disapproved by Supreme Court, he added. The
Central and State governments were apathetic in getting the
micro-classification restored since two years, despite concerted
agitations, Mr. Devaiah said.

Mr.. Devaiah Madiga oversaw the election of office-bearers for MMRPS’
Kadapa district unit and the district student wing. Chitti Sriramulu
Madiga was elected honorary president of Kadapa District MMRPS,
Ponnolu Subbarayudu as district president and G. Nagamuni as general
secretary. Others elected were G. Brahmaiah and B. Palakondaiah as
vice-presidents, S. Narasimhulu as joint secretary and G. Munaiah as
State vice-president.

S. Balu Madiga was elected president of Kadapa Maha Madiga Vidyarthi
Samakhya, M. Venkataramana as district general secretary, S. Gangadhar
as vice-president, S. Sriramulu as district secretary.

Whither Reservations?

Whither Reservations?

Sheetal Sharma

As the final phase of the intake of OBCs quota in educational institutions—such as central universities, IIMs, IITs, AIIMS, institutions funded or managed under the aegis of the Central Government—is going to be accomplished in the coming session, there is a sense of satisfaction that another step has been taken for the upliftment of the socially backward sections of society. Hitherto, the backward castes and communities have been denied any attempt to rise socially; thus it is our obligation to ensure social justice and equality. It is purported that through means of affirmative action, such as reservation in educational and occupational opportunities, the backward castes and downtrodden communities (including Scheduled Castes and Tribes) can free themselves from the shackles of age-old discrimination. Although it would take some years before we can actually realise the consequences of these policy initiatives, it is appropriate time to reflect upon the process through which we are expecting to achieve a ‘desired’ product—a society free of caste-based discrimination.

CASTE defines the structural reality of the Indian society and constitutes the very fabric of the Indian social system. In Ambedkar’s words, “The Caste System is not merely a division of labour. It is also a division of labourers. Civilised society undoubtedly needs division of labour. But in no civilised society is division of labour accompanied by this unnatural division of labourers into watertight compartments. The Caste System is not merely a division of labourers which is quite different from division of labour—it is a hierarchy in which the divisions of labourers are graded one above the other. In no other country is the division of labour accompanied by this gradation of labourers.” (Section IV, Annihilation of Caste. Vol-I, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches) Access to opportunities and status is intrinsically rooted in one’s caste status. Conventionally, the birth in a particular caste predetermines and defines the status and profession of an individual. The caste identity precedes any other form of identity and in extremes of cases even the fact that an individual is a ‘human being’. In practice this reality creates caste consciousness among the practitioners of the caste system and governs his/her social interaction with other such identities. More often than not interaction between asymmetrically ranked caste identities results in social exclusion, lack of self-esteem, stigma, discrimination, and denial of equality in various spheres of life. The social and cultural sources of exclusion and inhuman discrimination are deeply entrenched in our institutions and social structure, and are established as reified reality. Poverty and penury are just economic manifestation of this subterranean structural rootedness.

With few exceptions, for centuries the philosophers, leaders, enlightened intellectuals, and godmen could not, or chose not to, see any irregularity in the established order; perhaps their vision and perception was being myopic and blighted by their own position in the entire social arrangement. The task to change the character and characteristics of such an order was daunting, nevertheless, achievable. The much needed empathetic understanding from the perspective of the ‘oppressed’ could not take place until Ambedkar began to see caste-based discrimination as some kind of challenge to the extent that he placed social freedom precedent to political freedom. He saw restoration of dignity to fellow citizens as important, if not more, as freedom from foreign yoke. Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India and one of the leading advocates of civil rights, tried to turn the Wheel of Law towards social justice for ‘all’.

After independence, it was realised that historical deprivation, continuing discrimination and persistent disparity call for state initiative or affirmative action. The state, through pronunciation of its normative prescription of secularism and democracy, took up to guarantee all its citizens equality, liberty, and freedom from exploitation. State sponsored mobility for backward castes and communities was perceived as a means of compensation for injustices, deprivation, and discrimination which these communities have suffered historically and in fact continue to suffer. For safeguarding their interests and accelerating socio-economic development it was realised that these communities need special provisions. A policy of reservations was instituted in order to combat social disability, economic backwardness, and other handicaps confronted by them in getting reasonable representation in elected offices, government jobs, and educational institutions. Article 46 of the Constitution of India states that “the State shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of social exploitation”. Articles 330, 332, 335, 338 to 342 and the entire Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution deal with special provisions for implementation of the objectives set forth in Article 46. There is no denying the fact that the reservation policy, as enunciated through Articles referred to above of the Constitution of India, has paid rich dividends in terms of welfare of the deprived sections of the society. However, the overall picture remains one of immense inequity. The antidote to exploitation and discrimination in the form of reservation was expected to throw up some promising results and heal the system, if not overhaul, in ten years time from its inception. Ten years were envisaged as the optimum period by the framers of the legislative initiative. Attempts were made so that the wrongs of inaccessibility, denial, and subjugation can be evened out by state sponsored intervention by guaranteeing access and control through entitlements and reservations. But even after more than sixty years of symptomatic treatment of the malaise and administration of the same dosage, the system is nowhere close to being healthy.

RESERVATIONS in general have failed despite developing certain pockets of excellence in caste groups and defined areas and blinding with occasional sparks of brilliance in terms of the K.R. Narayanans, G.M.C. Balayogis occupying highest constitutional posts of the President and Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The reservation system has not delivered for even a substantial proportion of backward castes and communities, not to mention the entire chunk. It is even argued that it has created a further class among the hitherto homogenous backward castes and communities who have turned out to be perpetrators of the same discrimination, accentuating the differences among various castes and within the same caste. What actually went wrong? Whither reservations? Whither affirmative action? The issue needs dispassionate examination, more so in the dynamic context of globalisation and liberalisation. Here are some points for consideration.

First, the decade after independence was the age of state sponsored mixed economy with the private sector having no or minimal role. The discourse in the pre-liberalisation era was the discourse of government institutions, govern-ment schools, and government jobs; whereas in the 21st century it is the discourse of the euphemistically called public but exclusively private schools, private companies, and private jobs. The response to global competition and free market should logically necessitate equipping the population in general, and marginalised groups in particular, with an uptodate set of skills and education. The government sector is not expanding or at least not growing as fast; therefore its capacity to provide jobs is becoming limited. Notwith-standing the economic and human development indicators showing general upward mobility since donning the garb of liberalisation, there are discernible signs of the yawning gaps between the rich and poor sections of the society getting still deeper with the passage of time. Moreover, development has remained primarily concentrated in urban and metro areas where the social divide is less visible than the economic divide, but here too the higher rungs of the economic hierarchy are disproportionately occupied by the socially privileged classes. In this scenario it becomes imperative to think of a new and effective planning strategy for the development of the weaker sections of the population. Perhaps the time has come, as an old saying goes, ‘to teach them how to fish rather than giving them a fish’. Only that path would create a far-reaching and sustainable generation of capacity and wealth among the downtrodden sections of society. The country is passing through a phase of transformation. These transformations in the social scenario as well as the economic, cultural, and political landscape have not been reflected and/or accounted for in alteration, addition, or reformulation of the reservation policy since the 1950s when it was originally conceptualised and crystallised. The policy of affirmative action has almost remained static in a highly dynamic and rapidly changing external environment.

Second, the duality in the education system perpetuates and crystallises the pre-existing fault-lines. Whatever cement is provided by the reservation policy is eaten up by the increasingly polarising duality in the education system. There are public schools of the genre of DPS, Doon, Springdales, Sanskriti, Goenkas, and now private universities like Amity have higher advertise-ment and publicity budget than scholarships for the disadvantaged or socially backward groups. Driven by the economic logic the DPS-Goenka-Doon-Amity cannot afford to have a socially just and equitable agenda. In the US schooling for almost everyone is the same. In India, we have developed a system of schooling exhibiting a stark contrast between public and private schools; and unlike the US, the government-run schools in India lack both quality and commitment. This has complicated the problem rather than resolved it. Through this duality in standards of education, and availability of facilities for co-curricular activities, the system is perpetuating inequality and widening the chasm between the sections rather than addressing it. The education system in India is thus sealing the fate of the underprivileged rather than liberating them.

Third, the greatest vindication of the reservation system is the beginning of a struggle among castes to get in, and equally vehement opposition from those in there, into the Schedule of Castes and Tribes. The castes that figure in the list of Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes, and OBCs have become a closed group representing a one-way traffic, where there is a way into it but no way out of it for the caste as a whole or even for an individual. The list has become a static reality rather than a dynamic group having both entry and exit designed on rigorous, objective and impartial parameters. The caste has been accepted, by the hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India, as an entity that can be and in fact is the most visible entity for discrimination and subjugation in the Indian social milieu. Based on the selected parameters the need for continuous inclusion and exclusion for the caste groups and the beneficiaries, or otherwise socially forward/ elites, cannot be over emphasised. Without this process, reservation would continue to serve a microcosm of politicians eating out of the system. For obvious reasons these people have vested interest in perpetuation of this format and interestingly they are also the competent authority to bring a change in it. Seeing the non-trickling down of benefits envisaged under the quota regime as failure of the reservation policy as an effective and practical tool of state sponsored mobility, the question is: what is to be done? The provision to put in a bar in terms of a creamy layer too contains inherent opposition. The definition and criterion to determine the creamy layer for the OBCs and SCs need not necessarily mean the same. In the case of the SCs peculiarities and realities of deprivation, discrimination and oppression suffered have to be factored in, and the economic criterion may completely be kept out. However, this inheres another danger that then there may also be a premium in being below the creamy layer. An individual who might be due for promotion into, say, a class I service at the maturity of his career thus getting into the fold of the creamy layer, might just sacrifice it to keep the benefit going for his progeny. It is true that centuries of subjugation and generations of oppression cannot be washed or done away by availing benefit over a single generation. In fact, there is no standard measure to judge exactly in how many generations these benefits would be able to wash up this discrimination.

THE growth of urbanisation is having a far-reaching effect on caste practices not only in cities but in rural areas as well. Among anonymous crowds in urban public spaces caste affiliations are unknown and observance of purity and pollution rules is negligible. The distinctive social features of caste have become weak, and names have been modified. Restrictions on interactions with other castes are becoming more relaxed, and, at the same time, observance of other caste defined rules is declining. As new occupations open up in urban areas, the correlation of caste with occupation is declining. But despite these changes caste still remains a dominant source of identity, and much of socio-economic, political, and cultural interaction occurs through caste connections. Any effort reinforcing fragmented caste identities and caste-based reservation entails a deeper look at the phenomenon of globalisation, urbanisation and the emerging professional avenues for ‘caste-beings’ nee human beings. Why and how can we gravitate towards the very system from which we are attempting to disassociate? Sociologically speaking, the intent and content of the reservation policy is to bring the asymmetrically located communities in the social hierarchy at par with each other and let the benefit be spread across families, communities and geographies. The objective of the policy of affirmative action is to broadbase the benefitting groups so as to fade prejudiced perceptions from public memory now, and forever. The rationale and purpose is not to promote and/or uplift certain families or people but to spread the reach and effect of benefit across spectrum, as wide as possible. Does that call for relooking at the intent and content of the reservation policy?

Dr Sheetal Sharma is an Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Centre steps in to reactivate SC, ST sub-plans

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Centre-steps-in-to-reactivate-SC-ST-sub-plans/articleshow/6098804.cms

Centre steps in to reactivate SC, ST sub-plans
Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN, Jun 28, 2010, 02.00am IST

NEW DELHI: Fresh attempts are afoot to activate the Scheduled Caste
Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan, with social justice ministry raising an
alarm with the PM over their non-implementation and the Planning
Commission constituting a task force for their review.

The SCSP and TSP stipulate that every government programme should have
part of the budget earmarked for SCs/STs in proportion of their
population.

Sources said social justice minister Mukul Wasnik has written to PM
Manmohan Singh that the sub-plan was lying in disuse and was in dire
need for attention.

The Plan panel’s decision to constitute a task force to revisit the
issue seems part of an attempt to get the sub-plans off the ground
after a study found their implemention to be dismal.

Planning Commssion member Narendra Jadhav told TOI that only 20% of
the Union ministries had implemented plans for allocating 15% and 7.5%
of their programme money for SCs and STs. The situation is no better
with states as most of them either do not follow the guidelines or
divert the allocations under SCSP and TSP to other heads.

The task force, headed by Jadhav, will comprise the Union secretaries
of tribal affairs and social justice, and secretaries of Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Chandrapal, former adviser with the Plan panel who revised the
guidelines for the non-lapsable, non-divertible sub-plan in 2006,
said, "The idea was to ensure that benefits of the welfare schemes go
to SCs/STs. Special programmes funded by sub-plans should also be
designed for them." The underlying reason behind creating the
sub-plans was that systemic bias was preventing the weak groups from
benefiting from welfare schemes.

The new task force within four years of the revision of the guidelines
and approval by National Development Council only shows that
implementation has been poor.

While indifference has been the bane of the sub-plans, a review by
Centre, Plan panel and states may highlight the difficulties in
dividing budgets along community lines.

Sources said infrastructure-related ministries have expressed
inability in making allocations for SCs/STs as facilities like roads
and transport are used by people across communities. It may result in
the Plan panel identifying programmes where SCSP and TSP can be
implemented.

"We can introduce flexibility in guidelines. The idea is that
sub-plans should work," a functionary said.

« Older entries