Unemployment has risen sharply among SCs & STs in last 6 years

Unemployment has risen sharply among SCs & STs in last 6 years


Amidst concerns over budgetary cuts in social sector spending, a recent statement from Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Planning reveals that unemployment rate has risen much sharper among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) vis-à-vis the overall population.

Replying to a starred question by Shri PL Punia regarding Human Development Index (HDI) of SCs and STs, the Minister of State for Planning said on 6 February, 2017 in the Rajya Sabha that the unemployment rates among SCs, STs and total population has increased from 3.2 percent to 5.0 percent, 2.6 percent to 4.4 percent and 3.8 percent to 5.0 percent, respectively, between July, 2011 and August, 2016 (see Chart-1). Please click here to access the entire reply from Rao Inderjit Singh to the starred Question No. *34 on 6 February, 2017. 

It means that the unemployment rate among the SCs, STs and overall population has risen by 56.3 percent, 69.2 percent, and 31.6 percent, respectively, between July, 2011 and August, 2016.
 
Chart 1 Unemployment Rate
 
Source: Rajya Sabha starred Question No. *34 to be answered on 6 February, 2017, Human Development Index of SCs and STs, please click here to access

The data on unemployment rate provided in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour on 6 February, 2017 is sourced from various Annual Employment-Unemployment Surveys. The unemployment rate is based on the Usual Principal Status (UPS) approach.

It should be noted that the unemployment rate is defined as the number of persons unemployed per 1,000 persons in the labour force (employed & unemployed). A person is classified as belonging to labour force as per the UPS approach, if s/he had been either working or looking for work during longer part of the 365 days preceding the survey. The UPS measure excludes from the labour force all those who are employed and/or unemployed for a total of less than six months. Thus persons, who work intermittently, either because of the pattern of work in the household farm or enterprise or due to economic compulsions and other reasons, would not be included in the labour force unless their days at work and unemployment totalled over half the reference year.

Budgetary allocations for SCs and STs

Under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP), which was introduced in 1979, Plan expenditure for Scheduled Castes (dalits) in proportion to their share in the total population of India (which is 16.6 percent as per the Census 2011) was stipulated. Similarly, the norm for Tribal Sub-Plan stipulates setting aside Plan allocations across sectors for Scheduled Tribes (adivasis), in proportion to their share in the total population of the country (which is 8.6 percent as per the Census 2011).      
    
With the abolition of Plan and Non-Plan classification of expenditure since the Union Budget 2017-18, the focus is now on Revenue and Capital expenditure, said the Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley in his budget speech delivered on 1 February, 2017. However, experts believe that it has become difficult from now onwards in implementing the norms pertaining to SCSP and TSP.

In an analysis of the Union Budget 2017-18 by Delhi Solidarity Group – a Delhi-based CSO (please click here to access the document), it has been said that in the past Union Budgets, allocations for SCs / STs was mandated for programmes covered for Plan period only and expenditure of establishments after the expiry of Plan period were booked under Non-Plan heads. However, due to the abolition of Plan and Non-Plan classification of expenditure, it becomes difficult to predict whether population proportionate allocation for SCs / STs would be made in the Union Budgets henceforth.

Since the proportion of SCs in the total population is 16.6 percent, an allocation of Rs. 3,56,358 crore should be ideally made as per the SCSP norm, which is 16.6 percent of the size of total budget expenditure i.e. Rs. 21,46,735 crore in 2017-18. However, in reality the allocation made under the SCSP is just Rs. 52,392.6 crore (B.E.) in 2017-18, which is Rs. 3,03,965.4 crore lesser than the ideal allocation. As compared to the allocation of Rs. 38,832.6 crore (B.E.) made in the Plan budget last year, the allocation for SCSP made this year is 34.9 percent higher.

Similarly, the population proportionate allocation to STs should ideally be Rs. 1,84,619.2 crore as per the TSP norm. However, in reality the allocation made under the TSP is just Rs. 31,919.5 crore (B.E.), which is Rs. 1,52,699.7 crore lesser than the ideal allocation. As compared to the allocation of Rs. 24,005.4 crore (B.E.) made in the Plan budget in 2016-17, the allocation for TSP made this year is roughly 33 percent higher.

According to an analysis of the Union Budget 2017-18, which has been done by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) — a New Delhi-based think tank, the reporting in SCSP in Union Budget 2017-18 differs from the earlier statement as: (i) the structure of the Sub-Plan has been replaced by a statement giving ‘Allocation for Welfare of Scheduled Castes’ (please click here to access); (ii) allocations for SCSP are now earmarked from the total schemes’ allocations, segregated as Revenue and Capital expenditure; and (iii) the statement now appears as Statement 10 A, instead of Statement 21, till last year. Please click here to access the document entitled What Do the Numbers Tells? An Analysis of Union Budget 2017-18 by CBGA.

Similarly, the reporting in TSP in Union Budget 2017-18 differs from the earlier statement as: (i) in the Union Budget 2017-18, TSP which was earlier Statement 21 A ‘Tribal Sub Plan’, has been re-named as Statement 10 B, ‘Allocation for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes’ (please click here to access) and the allocations are divided into Revenue and Capital expenditure; and (ii) In the absence of any reference to TSP, parameters for assessing allocations reported under Statement 10 B remain unclear.

It needs to be added that the total Union Budget expenditure as a proportion of GDP has declined from 13.1 percent in 2016-17 (B.E.) to 12.7 percent in 2017-18 (B.E.).

References:

Rajya Sabha starred Question No. *34 to be answered on 6 February, 2017, Human Development Index of SCs and STs, please click here to access

List of Questions for Oral Answers, Rajya Sabha, 6 February, 2017, please click here to access
 
Exposing Union Budget 2017-18: Analysis from the perspectives of SC/ST, Fisher folks, Handloom Weavers, OBC - Riddles and Knots, released by Delhi Solidarity Group, 2 February, 2017, please click here to access
 
Union Budget Speech 2017-18 delivered by Arun Jaitley on 1 February, 2017, please click here to access 

Statement 10A: Allocation for Welfare of Scheduled Caste, Expenditure Profile 2017-2018, please click here to access

Statement 10B: Allocation for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes, Expenditure Profile 2017-2018, please click here to access

Statement 21: Schemes under Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan, Expenditure Budget Vol. I, 2016-2017, please click here to access

Statement 21A: Schemes under Tribal Sub-Plan, Expenditure Budget Vol. I, 2016-2017, please click here to access

What Do the Numbers Tells? An Analysis of Union Budget 2017-18, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), please click here to access 

Report on 5th Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2015-16, Labour Bureau, Chandigarh, please click here to access,
 
Report on 4th Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2013-14, Labour Bureau, Chandigarh, please click here to access,

Report on 3rd Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2012-13, Labour Bureau, Chandigarh, please click here to access,
 
Report on 2nd Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2011-12, Labour Bureau, Chandigarh, please click here to access,
 
Report on 1st Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2009-10, Labour Bureau, Chandigarh, please click here to access
 
Human Development Index: 'Gap remains between SCs, STs and other social groups' -Manoj CG, The Indian Express, 7 February, 2017, please click here to access 

Budget 2017-18 SC-ST “allocation” 3.93%, against 25.5% population; Economic Survey “ignores” SCs, STs, Counter View, 03 February, 2017, please click here to access  

Union Budget is a massive step backwards for Dalits, Adivasis: NCDHR, Two Circles, 03 February, 2017, please click here to access


Image Courtesy: Himanshu Joshi



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