National minorities want adequate budget allocation
National minorities raised their voice for adequate budgetary allocation to eliminate disparity and discrimination between them and the mainstream people at a seminar in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Leaders of national minorities at the seminar at the National Press Club also demanded their constitutional recognition as being ‘indigenous peoples.’
They also criticised the special parliamentary committee on constitution amendment for not including their demand in the recommendations to be placed in the parliament.
The seminar on the ‘National budget and indigenous people’ organised by the Kapaeeng Foundation. The task force for repatriation of tribal refugees and the rehabilitation of internally displaced people chairman, Jatindralal Tripura, attended as chief guest.
Workers Party lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badshah, Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council member Gautam Kumar Chakma, information commissioner Sadeka Halim, economist MM Akash and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum’s general secretary Sanjeeb Drong and Centre for Policy Dialogue researcher Sayeed Ahmed took part in the programme.
Kirty Nishan Chakma, who researches on national minorities, read out the keynote paper titled ‘National budget and socio-economic development of indigenous people’ at the seminar, presided over by the Kapaeeng Foundation chair, Rabindranath Soren.
Kirty Nishan said that about 65 per cent of the hill people and 80 per cent of the plain land national minorities live below absolute poverty line. He said that 92 per cent plain-land national minority people are landless and 65 per cent of such people living in the hill tracts are faced with land disputes.
He also said that in 2010–11 budget, Tk 565 crore was allocated for the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Tk 12 crore was allocated for such minority people living in the plains under the Special Affairs Department of the Prime Minister’s Office.
‘The way the CHT allocation was expended was not transparent and lack of institutional capacity in the plain-land area hampered the implementation of the allocation, ‘Kirty Nishan added.
MM Akash said that about 2 per cent of the country’s population are national minorities and the allocation for them is below 0.5 per cent of the total budgetary allocation. National minority people get a third of the per capita allocation made for the mainstream people in the budget.
Sayeed Ahmed stressed the need for the implementation of the annual development programme for CHT people by saying that ‘only 19 per cent of the total ADP has been implemented till February 2011.’
Sanjeeb Drong heavily criticised the special parliamentary committee on constitution amendment for not including their demand for being recognised as ‘indigenous’ in the recommendation to be placed in the parliament.
Jatindralal said that the national minority people were discriminated against and he said that steps would be taken to address the issue.
courtesy: New Age
Following is the news from Daily Star on the same programme:
Budgetary funds for indigenous people demanded
They also suggested the grass-root people to utilise the right to information act to check proper implementation of the budget and help ensure accountability of the authorities concerned.
Kapaeeng Foundation, a human rights organisation of ethnic people, held a seminar on “National Budget and Indigenous People” at Jatiya Press Club in the city.
Noted economist and Professor of Economics Department of Dhaka University MM Akash said, “Though there is two percent indigenous people of the total population in the country, only 0.5 percent of total budget is allocated for indigenous people. The per capita expenditure for an indigenous person is one-third in comparison to Bengali.”
MM Akash said if there is a provision of monitoring system by grass-root people twice a year, the budget allocation will be utilised properly.
There is no positive reflection of budget allocation seen. Indigenous people have become destitute more over the last forty years, said Sanjib Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum.
Researcher Kirti Nishan Chakma in his keynote paper urged the government to make a seperate census on indigenous people.
Lawmakers Jatindra Lal Tripura and Fazle Hossain Badsha, Information Commissioner Sadeka Halim also spoke with Kapaeeng Foundation Chairperson Rabindranath Saren in the chair.