(IAS – Retd., Founder-SANVIDHAN FOUNDATION and Founder President of MOF) 

Social welfare department of Maharashtra Government have totally failed to protect the developmental and welfare interests of scheduled castes and Buddhists.

The important scheme of giving land to landless under  ‘Karmaveer Dadasaheb Gaikwad Swavalamban and Swabhiman’ scheme is presently in dying stage because no land is bought in last two years and budget meant for this, has been diverted. The suggestions given to the government are not considered; hence the landless SCs are deprived, though money is available. This is sheer negligence of the departmental officers. Those who are supposed to do justice are doing injustice. 

The scheduled caste sub plan backlog figure is about Rs. 7000 crore. Maharashtra Govt is under constitutional obligation to provide fund proportionate to population of SCs in state i.e. 10.2 per cent and spend on welfare /developmental schemes for SCs and Buddhists. This is also not happening. Govt must make available this Rs. 7000 crore backlog amount in current budget of 2013-14, in addition to regular allocation. Thus, SCs are deprived of economic support. Is not this amounting to injustice? White Paper on this subject must be published. 

E-scholarship introduced in 2010, but lakhs of students are not getting scholarship monthly in their account. About 12 lakh applications out of 16 lakh for the year 2012-13, are not yet approved, as reported in newspapers, thus putting the students in hardship. The very purpose of E-scholarship is being defeated.

We met Minister Social Justice at Nagpur and pointed out all these issues, including that of caste validity but no progress has been seen happening. The MLAs of the society must take up these issues in winter assembly at Nagpur and compel the government to sincerely and honestly work for the well being of the scheduled castes. We appeal to the MLAs earnestly and we are willing to present the practical side of implementation of schemes, monitoring and evaluations. Society as a whole and particularly political/social activist should also press the Government to take necessary action.

I have already given them a presentation in Mumbai on November 11 and in Nagpur on January 15, November 22 this year. In addition, I have made sure that I put across these points through my speech, in many functions and programmes, as also during personal interactions with intellectuals and activists. 

There are other important issues of atrocities, injustice on officers and employees, fulfilling basic needs, livelihood, housing, employment. Enough funds are available in Scheduled Caste sub Plan. But, it is not honestly provided and even whatever little fund is given, it is not spent in the right domain. Hence, a backlog of Rs. 7000 crore. We, therefore, need a strong, well coordinated movement for developmental programs. The families of scheduled castes in rural areas and slums are facing deprivations; let us campaign for this socio-economic development cause.

We have already demanded "WHITE PAPER" on Scheduled caste sub plan -implementation and impact-evaluation. Hence this appeal.

(E.Z. Khobragade is a retired IAS officer who has worked at various posts such as SDO, CEO, Collector in government services. He has worked diligently to inform citizens about various government schemes. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and his writings have been a major inspiration for him through all these years)

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