Situating Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Post-2015 Development Framework | Millennium Development Goals

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Marginalized groups in India such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are making much slower progress than other social groups in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). How would a post-2015 development framework incorporate their concerns into its strategies and indicators? How would it address the issues of identity-based exclusion and discrimination in countries like India where nearly one-quarter of the population suffers from such social exclusion despite the existence of constitutional safeguards? How should stakeholders such as UN agencies, donor agencies, governments, civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and the private sector engage in post-2015 development goals? This paper argues for a development framework that ensures faster reduction in poverty and inequality for India
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  i   Oxfam India working papers series JUNE 2013OIWPS - XIX RAJENDRA P.MAMGAIN SITUATING SCHEDULED CASTES AND SCHEDULED TRIBES IN THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK  This paper examines the concerns of marginalized groups such as Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the post-2015 development paradigm who lag much behind other social groups in the attainment of most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It situates existing inequality among various social groups with the critical issues of social exclusion-induced discrimination, human poverty and inequality in societies afflicted by such discrimination. The paper, therefore, argues for a post-2015 development framework that ensures faster reduction in poverty and inequality of SCs and STs, eliminates all forms of discrimination against them and ensures social inclusion with dignity. This would require several measures from different stakeholders for the overall development of SCs and STs. Equally important would be to strengthen the current database on various social and religious groups to periodically assess the success in reducing economic, social and political inequalities. Rajendra P. Mamgain  is Professor of Economics, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow. Prior to this he has worked as Senior Academic Consultant, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi; Director, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies; Senior Fellow in the Institute for Human Development and Faculty at the Institute of Applied Manpower Research. His areas of research interest include labor, employment, migration, skill development, human poverty, social exclusion and inclusive development. He specializes in undertaking large field-based research in his areas of interest. He is also the Managing Editor of the Indian Journal of Labour Economics. Abstract Disclaimer: Oxfam India Working Paper Series disseminates the finding of the work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusion expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of Oxfam India. Published by: Oxfam India  Contents Abstract iiI. The Issue 2Ii. Why do social exclusion and discrimination matter?: the Indian context 3Iii. MDGS and dalits—achievements and disparities 5IV. How have MDGS mainstreamed the discourse and policies of the government ? 12V. Contours of the post-2015 development framework for SCS and STS 14References 19Annexure 1: Status of MDG attainment by social groups in India 21Annexure 2: Key policy initiatives and programs towards attaining MDGs in India 23  2The framework of development of the MDGs has initiated new thinking on the development debate coinciding with the beginning of the twenty-first century. With the 2015 deadline for the attainment of the MDGs fast approaching, a discussion regarding the adoption of the post-2015 development framework has been going on at the international, national, regional and local levels, involving various stakeholders such as UN agencies, governments, academicians and civil society organizations. The MDG framework has been widely evaluated and criticized for its inadequacy in capturing ever-growing inequalities in income and asset distribution across regions and socio-ethnic groups. This framework has not been able to address the critical issues of social exclusion-induced discrimination, human poverty and inequality in societies afflicted by such discrimination. 1  It has instead adopted a non-consultative top-down approach with an undue focus on outcomes rather than setting out the processes which would make it possible to realize the objectives. 2  How would the new development paradigm incorporate these core concerns in its future strategies and measurement indicators? How would it address the issues of identity-based exclusion and discrimination in countries like India wherein nearly one-fourth of the population suffers from such social exclusion despite the existence of several constitutional safeguards? How would various stakeholders such as UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), international and national NGOs, academia and the private corporate sector engage in the post-2015 development framework? How effectively would their concerns be addressed in the development strategy? What would be the core concern of development for various social and ethnic groups and regions, and what strategies would be required towards achieving that end? Would the goals enshrined in the MDG framework still be relevant in the post-2015 development framework? What would be the time framework for the new development paradigm? How would the new framework ensure the development of SCs and STs, which would help alleviate discrimination against them, and the associated poverty and inequality they suffer from, while ensuring their dignity? What statistical reforms would be required to improve the available database on various groups and sub-groups of the population across regions and sub-regions? Although the Constitution of India ensures the people’s rights to economic, social and political freedom, it remains to be seen how crucial political commitments and effective governance would be in ensuring such Constitutional guarantees. The MDG framework of development has guided many CSOs to increase their advocacy for inclusive development. The other questions that need to be addressed are how CSOs, particularly Dalit CSOs, could contribute to the new development framework based on their previous experiences. Measures need to be identified as to improve the capacity of CSOs to mobilize the poor and marginalized groups, help them in articulating their demands in a manner that these could find a place in policy-making, and to monitor the progress of development programs. The debate on the post-MDG framework assumes further importance as the present United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre in India incorporated the national MDG framework in its Common Minimum Programme (CMP) during its previous tenure in 2004. This paper examines some of these concerns in the following sections. I. THE ISSUE
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