Jaipur: After two years of internal conflicts, the ruling Congress in Rajasthan has now started to focus on its core vote banks as it is coming up with a separate act for the welfare of Scheduled casts and Scheduled tribe communities in the state.
The proposed act will ensure that the total allocation of budget in government schemes for these communities would not be less than the proportionate population of SC and ST in the state.
With the enactment of this act, the state government will earmark a certain amount in its annual budget for use as the Scheduled Casts Development Fund and Scheduled Tribes Development Fund and will create the required institutional mechanism for use of these funds in focus areas. "The primary objective of this act shall be to cover up the deficit of these communities on the development indicators. This should be reflective of the aspirations of these communities," said the draft of the act.
CM Ashok Gehlot had announced this act in his budget speech this year and the government is planning to table the act in the coming session of the state assembly. Though, Rajasthan is not the first state as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamilnadu and Uttarakhand have already enacted this act and Punjab has recently introduced an ordinance of this.
Notably, scheduled casts and scheduled tribes are one of the biggest vote banks of ruling Congress in the state and this act is being considered as a poll-bound initiative of the government.
"The provision for separate allocation of budget in government development schemes in the proportion of SC/ST population is already there but it is not in the legal framework. The Planning Commission had introduced it during the 5th and 6th five-year plans. The state governments follow these directives but it is difficult to figure out how much allocation has been made and spent by the departments. This act will give a legal framework to this allocation and spending of the government," said Nisar Ahamed, the economic analyst at Budget Analysis and Research Centre, Jaipur.
The government is also of the opinion that despite the strategies of Scheduled Cast Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan having been in operation for more than 40 years, they could not significantly influence all the concerned in the right perspective.
"To bridge the developmental gap and to ensure all-round development of SC and ST in the state, I have announced to enact a law namely The Rajasthan Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Act as Rajasthan pattern", said CM Ashok Gehlot in the statement of objectives and reasons of the act.