Approaching Equity - Civil Society Inputs for the Approach Paper - 12th Five-Year Plan

31 Dec 2001


This publication captures recommendations from a series of national consultations held for 16 social groups towards providing inputs for the Approach Paper of the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The National Dalit Consultation was jointly organised on the 8 December 2010 in New Delhi by the four major national Dalit platforms – National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), National Dalit Forum (NDF) and National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW).

Th is was part of a process to make the approach paper to the 12th Five Year Plan inclusive of the perspectives of the vulnerable and marginalised groups, who have been long excluded.

Th is consultation was one of the 13 consultations with civil society organisations (CSO) platforms working with women, youth, children, people with disability (PWD), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people, people belonging to confl ict-ridden areas, displaced people, Dalits and adivasis, the urban poor and other marginalised groups across the country.

Th e consultation had participation of Dalit activists and CSOs from diff erent states of the country, namely Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan and Jharkhand (participant list annexed). Th e consultation aimed at providing critical inputs to the Planning Commission of India on the core themes identifi ed as sectors where Dalits have been systematically excluded all these years.

It is very important to infl uence the approach paper at the time of its preparation because the framework of planning is decided in this approach paper and later approved by the Cabinet and the National Development Council.

Following the approval from the centre, schemes and allocations are prepared based on the approach paper. Th e Planning Commission of India has for the fi rst time opened up the process of setting directives for the 12th Five Year Plan through a series of consultations with CSOs who have whole-heartedly welcomed the initiative.

Th is report will present the proceedings of the National Dalit Consultation, wherein important measures were suggested and recommendations emerged for ensuring the 12th Five Year Plan refl ects the concerns of the Dalits.

Dalit CSO leaders welcomed the opportunity as a crucial one to articulate to the government the clear demands that they had on behalf of Dalit groups and communities. Th e practice followed in the planning process until the 11th Five Year Plan has been of including civil society members in working groups.

Th is is the fi rst time they are being consulted for the preparation of the approach paper. Planning so far has always been dominated by an upper-caste mindset. Th e Planning Commission has had minimal representation from the Dalit community. It has been economics-centric and has hardly incorporated other disciplines within its fold.

Th ough there were some attempts to include civil society in planning in the 1960s and 1980s, the planning process has not only failed to address Dalit issues, but has also failed to be people-centred in general.

It was recommended that the Planning Commission needs to consult directly with Dalits beyond CSO participation in the future.

Th ough not articulated separately in the papers, it can be presumed that the measures and directives proposed for planning should be equally applicable to Dalits from diff erent religious backgrounds.

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