Bajura, October 13
Thousands of members of the Dalit community in Bajura did not receive the social security allowances they were entitled to.
Village secretaries did not distribute social security allowances for the first quarter of this fiscal to Dalits belonging to some 21 castes including Chandara, Sahani, Ukheda, Nepali, Sanai, Kadara, Tiruwa, Luhar, Lwar, and Bhiyal, citing the provision in the latest Social Security Programme Operation Procedure 2070, which states that only Dalit castes whose names are mentioned therein will receive the allowances.
“We had been receiving allowances until last year, but for some reason we have not been given the allowances this year,” said Naule Lwar of Kuldevmandau. He said that many Dalits were unable to celebrate Dashain this year without the allowance.
As per the law, Dalits above the age of 60 get a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month as senior citizen allowance. For other citizens, however, those aged 70 and older qualify for the allowance. Similarly, children below five years of age from a Dalit community also receive Rs 400 per month for their upkeep.
Regarding the issue, Kuldevmandau Village Secretary Laxmi Bhattarai admitted that Dalits belonging to some 20 castes weren’t granted the allowance. “We couldn’t distribute the allowance to them because the law clearly states that those who are not mentioned in the concerned document aren’t entitled to the allowance,” she said.
As per sources at Bajura DDC, initiatives were on to include the omitted Dalit castes on the list and ensure the state provided allowances to them.
“ All Dalit castes were mentioned on the previous list, but the recent one has missed out on many castes, so we are amed,” said DDC Account Officer Krishna Shahi.
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.