Lion’s share of funds for Dalit uplift ‘unutilised’

Kathmandu, January 31:

The budget allocated by the government for the uplift of the Dalits in the fiscal year 2004-05 was underutilised due to negligence on the part of implementing agencies, according to a report on ‘Government’s Budget for the Dalits in 2004-05 and its Utility in the Capital’.

The National Dalit’s Commission spent a meagre Rs 83,000 for the welfare of Dalits out of Rs 1.25 million allocated for development and education sectors in the fiscal year 2004-05, the report said.

The research conducted by the Centre for Dalit and Rural Development (CDRD) in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur with the support of the NGO Federation of Dalits (NFD) revealed that though District Development Committees (DDCs) of Lalitpur, Bhaktapur

and Kathmandu spent

Rs 0.65 million for scholarships, water supply and income-generating programmes, DDCs did not design specific programmes for the Dalits.

Though municipalities did not have specific programmes for the Dalits, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City invested Rs 0.25 million for the social development scholarships.

Om Prakash VK Gahatraj, president of the Centre for Dalit and Rural Development, said, “The National Planning Commission has allocated Rs 1.6 billion in the five-year 10th Plan for five million Dalits in Nepal. As per the plan, Rs 32 million must be spent every year for the uplift of the Dalits.”

Gahatraj added that the survey was conducted to find out whether the Dalits get their share as committed in the paper.

“Similar surveys will be conducted in all the regions of the country to check the effectiveness of the programmes launched for the uplift of the Dalits,” said Gahatraj, the CDRD president.

Only the Ministries of Education and Sports and Local Development allocated budgets for the Dalits, while others did not allocate budget for them, according to the report.