By : P.G. Ambedkar
On 9 February, 2017, 26 MPs, cutting across parties barring the BJP, have written a letter (a copy available with Newsclick) to the Prime Minister to restore the Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP). The current budget had discontinued SCP and TSP and replaced it with allocations for welfare for Scheduled Castes (SC)and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The MPs in the letter state that this shift is “not just a ‘name change’ but a paradigm shift which will have a grave impact on the SCs and STs in this country.” The letter goes on to say that the 35% and 33% raise in budget allocation for the groups is “illusive” The increase is notional as the funds for SC/STs have been diverted to “administrative heads such as salaries, pensions and the like rather than properly-targeted schemes for empowerment of the SC-STs.”
The MPs have also brought to notice that there is an outstanding amount of Rupees 11,267.61 crores that needs to be paid for the Post-Matric Scholarships, given to poor SC students, from the previous years. They recommended that this amount be accounted and reallocated in this year’s budget.
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