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Adivasis demand equal allocation in national budget

  • Published at 01:26 am May 16th, 2019
Adivasis-Budget-Mehedi Hasan
Speakers including former minister Rashed Khan Menon at the roundtable discussion titled 'Specific and inclusive budget' on Wednesday in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Budget allocation in last 10 years is significantly low for the plain land Adivasis

Leaders of the Adivasi community have demanded an equal allocation in the national budget, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved unless the budget is inclusive.

The demand was voiced during a roundtable discussion titled “Specific and inclusive budget,” at the Daily Star Centre on Wednesday. The discussion was jointly organized by Kapaeeng Foundation and Manusher Jonno Foundation, with support from UKAid.

According to speakers at the discussion, the per capita allocation for Adivasis in the national budget is far lower than the national average. While the allocation for Adivasis was Tk200 per person, the national average was Tk11,229 per person. 

Keynote speaker and economist Prof MM Akas said: “One in every 54 people is an Adivasi who lives on the plains. In the current fiscal year, the budget allocation was Tk27,000 per capita. In the next fiscal year [2019-20] the budget may reach Tk5,00,000 crores, and the per capita allocation will reach Tk29,000. The Adivasis must demand their equal rights in the budget, and they must stay united to achieve this.”

He also suggested the government introduce a district based budget, to help make government services more accessible for the Adivasis.

Chief guest and member of parliament Rashed Khan Menon said: “To look after the Adivasis, the government should at least establish a division under the Ministry of Hill Tracts, if a separate ministry is not possible. The Adivasis should stay united and continue their movement.”

Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said: “A separate section must be included in the next budget speech. While a section on the Adivasis was in the budget speech 3-4 years ago, we have not seen it since. We hear of development, but are plagued by unemployment. We need equal rights in every sector.”

Anisatul Fatema Uousuf said: “If we can include the most marginalized communities in the development process, then we can say we are on the track to achieving the SDGs.

“A Tk200 per person allocation in the budget is terrible” she added.

Adivasies constitute 2% of the total population of the country. In the Budget for FY19, Tk1,309 crore was allocated for the Ministry of Hill Tracts, while the total budget allocation was Tk4,64,573 crore.