Concerned over the fact that many schemes have been accounted under general flagship schemes like the National Rural Health Mission and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan that don’t target SCs and STs specifically and have widened the gap of inequality, the National Coalition on Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) have demanded a legislation that will check the anomalies.

The Coalition urged the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to draft and introduce the Bill for the TSP. It has also asked the Ministry to strengthen accountability measures and pass stringent rules to give more teeth to the proposed legislation.

Speaking at a conference in the city this past week, Minister of State for Finance J. D. Seelam upheld the rights-based approach and acknowledged the precedence set by Andhra Pradesh for having enacted the law on The Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) in January 2013. He said that there was willingness among all Congress-ruled States to enact the SCP & TSP legislation, and also acknowledged the contribution of other political leaders and parties. He stated that principles of inclusion and equity among sub-castes were the focus of the government.

National Coalition on SCP TSP Legislation Convener Paul Divakar said that there was a need to address the gaps in the existing system. “While the coalition recognises the government’s efforts , the proposed Bill lacks substantial solutions to bridge the gap of the Dalit communities. It also lacks major accountability mechanisms and places no focus on gender. It is of paramount importance that the government take special interests in filling these gaps in ensuring an inclusive development to the community by placing this Bill without any delay in the Parliament.”