23 December, New Delhi
National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) chairperson P L Punia today said reservations could not continue forever, so the people belonging to SC and ST must prepare themselves for coming times.More and more emphasis should be on quality education because you cannot continue reservation forever.
It has to stop somewhere but you have to prepare them. You have to give extra preferential quality education to this section of society so that they can empower themselves, Punia told UNI.
In his view, coming challenge before Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes was to acquire quality education in villages, which were getting a backseat as governments were emphasising more on schemes like mid-meals, among others and not on education.
Accusing the BJP-led government of slashing budgetary allocations for welfare schemes, meant for marginalised sections, Mr Punia, a Congress MP, said there was a cut of Rs 66,258 crore in last budget’s schemes, aimed for betterment of SC and ST.During the last budget, there was a cut of Rs 66,258 crore in those schemes, which were directly affecting poor and SC and ST. This was quite wrong, Mr Punia, a former IAS officer, said. The Chairman also charged the government with eating out Rs 20,000 crore from Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan.
(The Social Welfare Ministry implements Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) which is an umbrella strategy to ensure flow of targeted financial and physical benefits from all the general sectors of development for the benefit of Scheduled Castes)
There is a provision of sub-plans for SC/ST in budget, equivalent to their population. During this government, there was a cut of Rs 20,000 crore in Scheduled Caste sub-plan.
There is no focus as far as this government is concerned, Punia said. He said SCs/STs were still lagging behind on every front whether it was education, health or employment.75 per cent of children and women are anaemic, 50 per cent suffers from diseases due to malnutrition.
There is a gap of more than 20 per cent in education as compare to general population. You take Infant Mortality rate, or beat any social parameter, people of Scheduled Caste are still lagging behind, Mr Punia said.