NEW DELHI: In a bid to woo people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a decent increase in the budgetary allocation for programmes related to their welfare.
In his budget speech on Thursday, Jaitley also announced an increased number of ‘Eklavya schools’ which he said will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas.
“By 2022, every block with more than 50 per cent ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have an ‘Ekalavya’ school’ on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas,” said Jaitley.
The allocation of funds for SCs and STs has been increased to Rs 56,619 crore and Rs 39,135 crore respectively for the fiscal year 2018-2019. Jaitley said that allocation to SCs was for 279 programmes for the community and the allocation to STs was for 305 programmes for the section. In 2017-18, the revised estimate of earmarked allocation for SCs was Rs 52,719 crore and Rs 32,508 for STs, Jaitley said.
Meanwhile, the Minority Affairs Ministry also got a raise of Rs 505 crore from Rs 4,197 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 4,700 for the next fiscal year. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi hailed the “record” hike in the budgetary allocation to his ministry.
“The record increase in the ministry’s budget will definitely help attain socio-economic and educational empowerment of minorities, ensure their development with dignity,” said Naqvi.
Officials in the ministry also pointed out that in 2014-15, the ministry’s budgetary allocation was Rs 3,711 crore and in 2015-16 and 2016-17 it was increased to Rs 3,713 and Rs 3,800 crore respectively.