The Economic Survey 2016-2017 Is Caste Blind


The Economic Surveys are released before the Union Budgets. They are supposed to give the survey of the economy and a comprehensive picture of the economic status. The Economic Survey 2016-2017 is available on the Finance Ministry website. It is an important document to understand thinking of the government.

One can say many things about it depending on the interest. But as our interest is related to social justice, we will try to examine it from the point of view of social justice.

The Economic Survey 2016-2017 Document Mentions Three Goals: Growth, Employment, and Social Justice.

But, it hardly talks about social justice. Barring just one paragraph that mentions caste, there is no discussion on caste. The document identifies caste as the important divisive factor besides language, region, religion, class, and script.

[bctt tweet=”There is hardly any mention on SCs and STs and their welfare.” username=”velivada”]

The document does not talk about important economic policies that came into existence in the VI Five Year Plan in which the Parliament mandated that budget will be distributed according to the population of SCs and STs, which will be about 30 percent of the total budget.

The Economic Survey document discusses welfare schemes of the past versus the new policy initiative which is at rage all over the world, Universal Basic Income (UBI). The UBI will allocate money directly to the needy and the social justice is discussed within the discussion of this scheme. The budget may see the inclusion of this policy to appease the electorate in poll-bound states.

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We will see that in the Union Budget. However, the discussion regarding the important scheme that targets welfare of SCs and STs is completely missing. It will be interesting to see what happens to the important social justice schemes of SCSP and TSP in this budget. Nothing is mentioned in the Economic Survey 2016-2017. There is no review of these schemes in the Survey.

The Survey came closer to accepting the failure of “demonetisation” by showcasing its impact on low growth rate. Interestingly, the estimated black money in India, according to the survey is between 3-7 lakh crores, but the demonetisation has already cost 1.3 lakh crores directly and the other collateral damages are not taken into consideration. The policy of demonetisation was inefficient. The demonetisation hit the unorganized sector of the economy harder and most of the people affected by it are the poor and lower caste.

The caste is the important marker of the inequity in India and the Economic Survey is silent about fighting the main source of economic inequality and injustice.

Author – Mangesh Dhaiwale, Human Rights Activist

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