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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Welfare programmes and life of Dalits and Adivasi in India!

For the last few days, my mind is being agonised to see the reports about the plight of poor , dalits and Adivasis in India even after the facts that the Union government and various state governments pumping huge resources  for their upliftment  through various flagship programmes and implementation of  laws stringently for their welfare . Instead of development in  poor, dalits, and adivasis zones in the country and improvement in their life-style, they are getting more and more poor and these people are being exploited more and more! Just this reminds  me one of the statements of Dr B R Ambedkar," My final words of advice to you are educate, organise and agitate. Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is a battle for reclamation of human personality."
Since the Independence of the country in 1947, it appears that some things tangible are being made to uplift the rural poor, tribal, and dalits, but on the ground realities, we find very insignificant impact of all these measures; exploitations are there; untouchablity and hatred towards dalits and adivasis are prevalent; Feudals' conservative attitude towards them continue-and what not? Slight changes are there in exploitation-earlier it was by and large by  landlords, moneyed people, upper caste people,, bureaucrats-now a different class of neo-rich class in the shape of influential  political class, corporates, capitalists, industrialists, multinationals has emerged. Attitude of upper caste, landlords, conservative people have also added new dimensions to the present state of affairs.
Socio-economic rights of people through "flagship" programmes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MANREGA), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS), Indira awas Yojana(IAY) for houses to homeless as well as semblance of equality before law like removal of untouchablity, continued hatred of sons and daughters of lower caste in different spheres of life, particularly in educational institutions are gradually being trampled in India because of politicians-bureaucrats -upper caste - vested interest nexus! Same tales are with various state governments' welfare schemes to uplift poor , dalits and tribal! Amount for all these flagship programmes of government of India as well as welfare schemes of different state governments are being spent but fruits of benefits hardly reach to them in rural areas.In Human Development Index, deprived people are at the lowest level on almost all fronts.
Teams of social audits of implementation of  all these welfare measures by various organisations even of the Sample Survey Organisations of India (SSOI) and also by the international organisations like World bank and its subsidiaries, International Children Emergency Fund (ICEF) have exposed the hollow claims of the union  government and state governments about benefits and improvements in their life.Particularly , ICDS programme implementation  throughout the country is marred  by corrupt practises and the benefit to poor under the scheme fail to reach at the ground level.
 A recent book ," the Integrated Child Development Services: A flagship adrift" by K R Venugoapal, Konark Publication highlights important insights into functioning of the scheme In Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the country.Apart from that,audit reports of Audior and Comptroller General of India (CAG), specially in Bihar has pointed out various irregularities and corrupt practises in the flagship programmes of the centre and also welfare mare programmes of the Bihar government.Under NDA rule led by chief minister Nitish Kumar. Non-utilisation of fund on various flagship programmes of the centre by the Bihar government have been rampantly pointed out as per recently released CAG report on Bihar. The report has came down heavily on the Bihar government for financial indiscipline.The report has commented that Rs 10309 crore were transferred by the centre directly to the state implementing agencies, but the Bihar government hasd failed to submit proper documentation and status of expenditure by these implementing agencies. Fate crores of rupees spent by the Bihar government are not known, the report said,adding that  out of Rs 25331.05 crore drawn on 83542 AC bills, only 9425 DC bills for Rs 2755.68 crore were submitted to the Accountant General of Bihar. As on September 14, 2011, DC bills in respect of 74117AC bills for Rs 22575.37 crore drawn between 2003 to 2010-11 were not submitted despite repeated requests.Under one flagship programme ---Indira Awas Yojana----The Bihar government  due to carry over of funds in excess of the prescribed norms, resulting into non-release of Rs 794.14 crore by the central government.Over 10000 crore of central fund on MGNREG, ICD, NRHM etc have not been utilised, . Utilised amount of over Rs 3000 crore on these scores have been misappropriated at different level of Bihar government in the last two financial years!
Venigopal's book has given many food for thoughts how the major chunk of ICDS have been misappropriated in Andhra Pradesh districts, specially Anantpur of that state and other districts of of other states. The book of Venugopal has covered a wide range of issues including immunisation, health check ups and referral and the form it takes (locally cooked or prepared ready to eat) pre-school  education, maternal health, nutrition education. In all these aspect, the book has described the situation dismal and disappointing. Under the ICDS, even supply of iron and folic acid tablets to pregnant women and vitamin A tablets to children are not distributed in rural areas. All these have resulted into unsafe pregnancy and defects in birth. There are no centres, formally opened in the rural areas of the country.. Anganwadi Sevika , workers and helpers have lack of inadequate training for such activities. Venugopal has suggested in the book "all aganwadi centres be converted into creches that function from 8.30  am to 5.30 pm, retaining all the current services with additional provision for serving supplementary nutrition thrice a day, doubling the strength of anganwadi workers and helpers, utilising voluntary services of trained and willing adolescents girls and raising the honourarium of anganwadi workers for the longer hours of work."Apart from bungling of funds meant for ICDS under Aganwadi being misappropriated by government officials inconvenience with aganwadi workers, there is wide scale social discrimination . Upper caste children and women do not attend aganwadi centres, located in dalit tolas. They do not take food prepared by dalits anganwadi workers under ICDS. Upper caste men do not allow their children and  women to mix with lower caste children and women in aganwadi centres.Thus centre's major flagship programme is in deep sea like other programmes including MGERGS in rural areras of the country.
Such point has shocked me when I further analysed the facts about social discrimination and untouchablity practise  in educational institutions, particularly of national repute like AIIMS, where dalit and advasis students are tortured, resulting into their deaths in many cases. Such incidents have taken place with Angita Veghada, a first years students of B Sc. Nursing  ,Institute of Nursing, Ahmedabad,Jaspreet singh , final year MBBS, Government Medical college, Chandigrah,S  Amravathi, national-level young women boxer, Centre of Excellence, Sports Authority of AP, Hyderabad,Senthali Kumar, Ph D School of Physics, University of Hyderabad,Malepula Shrikant, Final year B Tech, IIT, Bombay, G Suman, Final year M Tech, IIT Kanpur, Ajay S Chandra, integrated PhD, Indian Institute of science, Banglore, D Shyam Kumar, First year B Tech, Sarojinin Institute of engineering and Technology, Vijayawada,Anil Kumar Meena, First year AIIMS, New Delhi, Sushil Kumar Chaudhary Final year MBBS, Chhatrapati shahuji Maharaj Meducal university (former KGMC), Luchknow, Manish Kumar,3rd year student of B tecxh, IIT Roorkee, G Varalakshmi, B Tech first year, Vignan Engineering College, Hyderabad,,Linesh Mohan Gawle, PhD, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, Madhuri Sale, Final Year B Tech, IIT Kanpur, J K Ramesh, second year B Sc. University of Agriculture Sciences, Banglore, Bandi Anusha B Com final year Villa Marry College, Hyderabad,and  Pushpoanjali Poorty, First year MBA, Vesvesvaraih Technological university Banglore. Lists are long!
A recent Opinion piece by S Anand in Outlook India, has pointed out, " Most children of from Disadvantaged caste end up as maids, child labourers or drop outs. In most of rural India Dalit students are asked to sit apart, sweep the school veranda or clean toilets.Omprakash Valmiki, the Hindi Dalit writer in his autobiography JOOTHAN, recalls the humiliation of being forced to perform his caste occupation by his head master, who told him,' Go sweep the whole playground. Otherwise, I will shove chillies up your arse and throw you out of school" Almost every first generation formally educated Dalit has such horror stories to share. For every youth who manage to persist with the skewed education system for members of the family skip a meal; sibling work as farm labour to help one person hope for and dream of a life of dignity. For a Dalit girl, the odds were are worse."
Following a report in the Telegraph, UK: " fewer than one in 100 students beginning courses at Britain's two oldest universities in 2010 were Black, including just 20 of the 2617 British students accepted to Oxford, a fall from 27 in 2009" A Black Labour Party MP collected data using freedom of information and wrote a column in The Guardian, ", lamenting, The Oxford whitewash."S Anand further wrote in his Opinion piece, "the debate in Britain is in sharp contrast to the silence in India. In 2006, following reports of discrimination in internal evaluation (especially practical and viva), segregation in  hostels, mess rooms and  in sports and cuiural events, A three-member  committee  headed by  Sukhdeo Thorat , then  chairman of the University Grants Commission,  conducted an enquiry into   the state of affairs in the AIIMS. The 77-page report of the Thorat committee indicted the administration on many counts and offered  recommendations but it was dismissed as prejudiced and no action was taken."
There is no murmur when dalit students are murdered in campuses, Anand says, What makes Indian society so shameless as to not just deny but even justify such prejudices against Dalits that lead to murders?" Anand further argues, " Just imagine the repercussions if Black students were to die half as routinely in Harvard or in Oxford as Dalits and Adivasis students die in AIIMS, IITS and IISCS."
Are you we not living in primitive  retrograde society?

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