Dalit leaders cutting across party lines took objection to this move and they were also joined by MLAs of the ruling BJP.
LAST UPDATED: DECEMBER 09, 2020
Karnataka Assembly witnessed a huge uproar on Wednesday, when Social Welfare Minister B Sriramulu said that funds from the Scheduled Castes Sub-Allocation and Tribal-Sub Allocation Act (SCS,TSP) would be diverted to build a flyover instead.
Dalit leaders cutting across party lines took objection to this move and they were also joined by MLAs of the ruling BJP. In fact, it was BJP MLA P Rajeev from Kudachi constituency who brought up the issue during the Zero Hour and insisted that the project be abandoned immediately.
Sriramulu told the assembly that the finance department had requested for funds to be diverted, to which he had agreed. However, no account was given of how much money from the fund has already been utilized.
Leader of opposition, Siddaramaiah expressed outrage over the government’s decision. “It is not right to put the money allotted for the Dalits to any other purposes. It is grave injustice and a fraud against the Dalits,” he said on the floor of the House.
According to the Act, an allocation in the budget should be strictly proportional to the population of SC/STs in the state. That being said, this would account for 24% of grants under the SCS-TSP Act which is close to Rs 30,000 crores of the budget. The law also states that budget provided under SCP/TSP should be Non-lapsable and Non-divertible.
Congress state president DK Shivakumar accused the BJP of being anti-Dalit and demanded the resignation of Deputy CM Govid Karjole, who held the social welfare portfolio before B Sriramulu took charge a few months ago.
The heated discussion in the assembly forced Sriramalu to re-think the government’s decision and later clarify that the allocation under SCS,TSP would not be diverted and used only for programmes under the social welfare department.