Development issues plague SC/ST population

Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and water scarcity continue to plague the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) populations of the district, despite efforts undertaken as part of decentralised planning, according to a report by the Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat.

Job security is the biggest concern for the Scheduled Castes, with 83,479 skilled workers, comprising 22.45% of the total SC population, being unemployed. The district has over 3.27 lakh SC residents, according to the 2011 Census.

Lack of sustainable livelihood opportunities has also made it difficult for them to maintain personal assets acquired through government financial aid and otherwise. For example, 11,143 homes were found to be in deplorable conditions.

Almost half of the 2,978 settlements that house a majority of the SC population were found to lack in basic infrastructure, with 992 settlements vulnerable to scarcity of potable water.

Homeless, landless

A total of 8,605 SC persons are homeless, while 5,120 do not possess any land. The picture is not rosy for those who have homes, with 998 persons living in single-room houses. As many as 685 settlements were found to be in need of soil conservation.

The unavailability of public crematoriums was also mentioned as a concern in the report, which outlines the challenges faced by the civic body and their possible solutions, as part of the district panchayat’s draft Annual Plan 2017-18.

An evaluation of the civic body’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) shows that a majority of the projects undertaken as part of the Special Component Plan (SCP) for SCs were unsuccessful. For instance, a project to provide autorickshaws as well as training in driving them to SC women failed to take off, says the report.

Tribal development

The ST population, comprising 21,020 people, fares much worse, with a majority below the poverty line. All 240 ST settlements face the issue of potable water scarcity. Although all of them have access to electricity, some homes are yet to be electrified.

The report also points out the need for better infrastructure at the pre-primary school level, the construction of tarred roads to replace the existing mud paths in most settlements, and the construction of more toilets and bathrooms.

The inability to utilise government benefits effectively, and exploitation by intermediaries are factors that hamper their development, according to the report.

Efforts are on to address these issues, with houses with electricity and attached toilets being constructed, according to officials at the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) office.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 3:44:57 AM |

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