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04/08/08
B MEDIAS 4 IDEAS-For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many Vote For BSP-Centre not cooperating with U.P., says Mayawati -Parties may focus on farmers’ problems in poll manifestos -Poor response to government plan to empower Scheduled Castes
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B MEDIAS 4 IDEAS-For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many

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Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008

Centre not cooperating with U.P., says Mayawati

Atiq Khan

Chief Minister terms Rahul’s “new found love” for SC/STs(Original Inhabbitants of Jambudvipa thst is the Great Prabuddha Bharath) eyewash



Mayawati

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday accused the United Progressive Alliance government of not cooperating with the State government and blamed the regimes of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the State’s backwardness.

Addressing an election rally at Sant Kabir Nagar in the Khalilabad Lok Sabha constituency, Ms. Mayawati termed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s “new found love” for the SC/STs(Original Inhabbitants of Jambudvipa thst is the Great Prabuddha Bharath) eyewash. Referring to Mr. Gandhi as the Congress “yuvraj’ (crown prince), she said his recent visit to SC (Original Inhabbitant of Jambudvipa thst is the Great Prabuddha Bharath) households in Uttar Pradesh was a political exercise aimed at wooing that section. She said the Congress leader underwent “shuddhikaran” (cleansing) after he ate food from their vessels.

Ms. Mayawati said the UPA government did not respond to her government’s demand for a Rs.80,000-crore package, and added that it was not concerned about the welfare of the  SC/STs(Original Inhabbitants of Jambudvipa thst is the Great Prabuddha Bharath)and other deprived sections. The non-Bahujan Samaj Party governments had done nothing for the development of the State.

Reiterating her support for the trifurcation of the State into Purvanchal, Bundelkhand and Western Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Mayawati said she had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue. She said the BSP support base was expanding in the country and expressed optimism that the next Prime Minister would be from her party.

Addressing another election meeting at the S.K.P Inter College in Azamgarh, Ms. Mayawati attributed the rampant corruption and price rise to the economic policies pursued by the UPA and NDA governments at the Centre. The development of the country had come to a standstill due to the policies of those governments, she said.

Parties may focus on farmers’ problems in poll manifestos

Nagesh Prabhu




257 farmers committed suicide between

April 2007 and February 2008

Rs. 1 lakh compensation given to families

of 53 farmers




BANGALORE: In an attempt to win over the dominant farming community in the coming elections to the Legislative Assembly, political parties are likely to frame their poll strategies focussing on the plethora of problems haunting the agricultural sector, including the continuing suicides by farmers.

This is an issue that has been of pressing concern for all political parties for the past few years. With suicide cases being reported almost every day from across the State, all major political parties — the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) — are likely to come out with strategies and formulas in their election manifestos to address this issue and thereby attract the rural vote.

While in power, however, the same parties have not been able to prevent this phenomenon. All parties “chase” farmers for votes and promise them everything, R.S. Deshpande, Professor of Agriculture, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, told The Hindu.

Despite a good monsoon last year, suicides by farmers continued. As many as 257 farmers’ suicide cases were reported from 29 districts between April 2007 and February 2008. Of these, 194 cases have been placed before a committee set up to sanction compensation to the next of the kin of the farmers. The committee rejected the claims in 65 cases and awarded compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the families concerned in 53 cases. The remaining cases are pending before the committee, according to sources in the Agriculture Department.

Various factors caused these suicides. Besides the steep fall in prices of commodities in the recent past, the farmers have been adversely affected by the recent untimely showers that destroyed paddy, coffee, jowar, cotton and other crops. They are also unhappy with the procurement prices, particularly for sugarcane, offered by the Government.

The number of farmers committing suicide has seen a decline from 2000-01, when 2,360 farmers ended their lives. As many as 708 suicide cases were reported in 2003-04, 271 in 2004-05, 163 in 2005-06 and 343 cases in 2006-07. As many as 1,742 cases have been reported from 2003-04.

In 2007-08, highest number of suicides have been reported from the districts of Bidar and Chikmagalur (27 each), followed by Hassan (24), Chitradurga (19), Belgaum (18), Mandya (16), Tumkur (12), Shimoga and Kogadu (11 each) and Gulbarga, Gadag and Bellary (10 each). No suicide cases have been reported from Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban, Ramanagara and Chickaballapur districts, official sources said.

Poor response to government plan to empower Scheduled Castes

The response to the government’s ambitious initiative to empower Scheduled Castes through the Special Component Plan (SCP) has not found many takers with just a handful of ministries allocating funds for it.

According to the Planning Commission, only around 15 ministries have allocated funds for the SCP.

‘It was only six ministries during 2005-06, and 12 in 2006-07. Though the number varies from year to year, the response to the SCP is not encouraging,’ a senior plan panel official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.

Some of the ministries that allocated funds are the human resource development, science and technology, health and family welfare, rural development, labour and employment, and small, micro and medium enterprises.

‘None of them, however, earmarked funds for the SCP in proportion to the Scheduled Castes’ population of 16.2 percent,’ the official added.

‘For instance, the ministry of human resource development allocated 12.9 percent of funds for SCP in 2005-06, while the ministry of rural development 10.40 percent. It was less than two percent in the case of others.’

‘It should not be less than 15 percent under any circumstances,’ he said.

With many ministries failing to earmark SCP funds, it has raised eyebrows among those entrusted with enhancing the socio-economic status of SCs and they are seeking immediate corrective measures.

‘The ministry of social justice and empowerment, the nodal agency for the welfare of SCs, must initiate corrective measures. It is a fact that that majority of ministries do not earmark SCP funds,’ Buta Singh, chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), told IANS.

The key person in the plan panel overseeing the welfare of SCs countrywide in the capacity of a member, Bhalchandra Mungekar, admitted that the SCP funds were not being adequately earmarked.

‘The problem is with the central ministries, and not with the state governments. It is true that a good number of them are not earmarking SCP funds. We are looking into the matter seriously,’ Mungekar told IANS.

The SCP came into being in 1979 to achieve an overall development of SCs by raising them above the poverty line. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report 2004-05 says 36.8 percent SCs in rural areas belong to the BPL category, while 39.9 percent in the urban areas.

The poverty line is currently pegged at the monthly per capita expenditure of Rs.327.56 in rural areas, and Rs.454.11 in urban areas.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment puts the onus on the plan panel to see the ministries and states comply with the SCP norm.

‘Only the Planning Commission can ensure that the ministries earmark adequate funds for the welfare for SCs under the SCP programme,’ an official, wishing not to be named, said.

Group clash between Dalits and ‘caste’ Hindus in Srirangapatna

Special Correspondent




Many houses belonging to the Dalits were damaged

Four constables on duty were injured in

the stone-throwing




MYSORE: The ugly face of caste discrimination raised its head at Jakkanahalli near Srirangapatna in Mandya district when the Dalits were prevented entry into a temple by “caste” Hindus resulting in a group clash on Monday.

What began as a minor altercation among members of the Dalit community and the “caste” Hindus escalated into full-fledged violence involving over 300 people. The police were forced to lob seven rounds of tear gas shells and resort to lathi charge to quell the mob.

Discontent

The genesis of the violence can be traced to simmering discontent among the “caste” Hindus and the Dalits, who are a minority in Jakkanahalli. District officials said there are nearly 500 houses in the village, of which 100 belong to the Dalits.

The “caste” Hindus had imposed a ban on the Dalits entry into the local Chamundeshwari temple four years ago following which the latter had desisted from venturing near the temple.

However, a few members of the community met the Deputy Commissioner of Mandya recently, who said that they had every right to worship in the temple as it belonged to the Muzurai department.

Puja performed

The Dalits performed puja at the temple early in the day to mark Ugadi and to usher in the New Year in a traditional manner. Police said things were normal until the afternoon when a few women belonging to the “upper caste” took objection to the presence of the Dalits in the temple.

This resulted in a verbal altercation between them.

This soon snowballed into a major confrontation with the entry of the men folk and violence engulfed the village. The mob indulged in stone throwing as a result of which many houses belonging to the Dalits were damaged. Four constables on duty, too, were injured in the stone throwing. An appeal to disperse did not yield any result and the police resorted to a lathi charge and lobbed tear gas shells at the mob to bring the situation under control.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police of Mandya G. Ramesh visited the spot and ordered additional security for the village.

Two platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and one platoon of District Armed Reserve (DAR) have been stationed in the village. Mr. Ramesh said the situation was under control and no further violence has been reported following the incident late in the afternoon.

Cases registered

Police have registered three cases in connection with the incident and two persons have been taken into custody for questioning. Meanwhile, leaders belonging to the Dalit Sangharsh Samithi have condemned the incident.

A peace meeting is expected to diffuse the tension and resolve the simmering discontent among the people of the village.

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