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SCSP/TSP Campaign (Rathayatra)

DSS has been taking up campaigns every year to educate, inspire and sensitize the society in general and dalit sections in particular on various issues concerning rights of dalit women, girl children and dalits in general. These campaigns were conducted as Ratha Yatra, with three vehicle loads of dalit women activists moving around from one end of the State to the other end and conducting public meetings, addressing small gatherings at all important towns and villages across the route. These Rathayatras of DSS became popular and were successful in conveying the message. Last year we focused on rights and educated all concerned about the rights and real content of democracy.

This year’s Rathayatra campaign theme was on a recently enacted law of the State of Andhra Pradesh allocating funds for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.The legislature of State of Andhra Pradesh passed an enactment called Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Caste Sub Plan/Tribal Sub Plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilization of Financial Resources) Act 2013 (shortly called SCSP/TSP Act).DSS felt that there is urgent need to campaign on this Act and on its background to dispel lot of political, legal and other misconceptions surrounding it. Though lot of funds are allocated for the welfare of scheduled castes and tribes each year by the State and Central governments, in actual practice there is no compulsion to spend the amount as allocated and always the funds were diverted to other purposes or shown as unspent.There has long been a demand from dalit forces that this situation should be changed and it should be made a legal compulsion for allocation of funds and actual spending of the funds.

In fact it was demanded by dalit activists that diversion or misuse or non use of funds should be made criminal. This Act was the culmination of various factors like struggles of dalits for their rightful share in the national and state levels, efforts of likeminded intellectuals, concerted efforts of dalit NGOs, sympathetic officers in the government etc. As a result of all these factors and in particular due to the rising dalit consciousness in the State, the political elite of the state felt compelled to enact this law. Though enacting such a law is on cards at the national level, A.P. government was the first to make such law. Since this is a unique law, it is urgently necessary to sensitize everyone on it, so as to make people understand the law, strengthen the law and organize future struggles to improve the law. Moreover, the actual beneficiaries i.e. the dalits and adivasis themselves should know that such a law for their benefit has been enacted and they should consciously utilize and pressurize the concerned departments to implement the law. Further, Dalit Sthree Sakthi has its additional objective of inspiring the dalit women and girl children to struggle for allocation of equitable share of financial resources for the women and girl children within the dalit community. With these objectives, DSS embarked upon the marathon campaign of spreading awareness about the latest SCSP/TSP Act. Lot of preparatory work was done in this regard. Apart from conducting a team meeting of the activists about the plan of campaign, well known intellectuals of repute and standing, like Vice-Chancellor of a university, former chairman of Bar Council of India were approached for their participation and support. The Act was translated into Telugu and published as a small booklet for distribution. A detailed pamphlet explaining the gist of the Act, the background and the need for utilizing the Act and the vigilance for its proper implementation was published for wide distribution. Posters were sent throughout the campaign route for wide publicity. Press and electronic media were informed about the campaign for coverage. A famous Telugu daily news paper has published the campaign handbill. Having made well planned preparatory work the campaign was launched on 18th November 2013. While all earlier campaigns were launched from Hyderabad, this time we chose Visakhapatnam for launching and concluded the campaign at Hyderabad.

Launching:

The Campaign (Rathayatra) on SCSP/TSP Act was launched on 18th November 2013 at Ambedkar Statue, LIC Junction, Visakhapatnam. The three vehicles (Rathas) were prepared with flexi banners highlighting the demands of the campaign and were launched.

The Chief Guests were Prof.P.George Victor, Vice-Chancellor, AdiKavi Nannayya University and Sri. D.V. Subba Rao, Former Chairman, Bar Council of India. Both are well known intellectuals in the area and high dignitaries. They launched the campaign at 11.00 a.m. and addressed the gathering and press.

Jhansi Geddam Convener-DSS explained about the objective of the campaign and said that SCSP/TSP Act is the first of its kind intended for the economic development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. She narrated how Dalit Sthree Sakthi has been working for the Rights of Dalit Women and Dalit Girl Children and that this campaign was organised for 10 days starting from 18th November 2013 till 27th November 2013, to create awareness about the Act, implementation, review and various loopholes in the Act. She called upon everyone to see that this Act is to be efficiently implemented for mainstreaming of the oppressed community as development on par with everyone is their constitutional right.

She recited the objectives, route plan and other details of the campaign. The troop will go around in 7 districts and 48 mandals covering major towns, cities and villages enroute to create awareness among the dalit women and girl children on SCSP/TSP Act. She also said that the 100 member campaign team is being accommodated in 3 campaign vehicles decorated with flex banners, sound system for this 10 days yatra.

The campaign vehicles with 100 members team in it has conveyed the voice and vehemence

of dalit women and girl children for the effective implementation of SCSP/TSP Act and their rights. Similarly wall posters have been affixed in all the 7 districts and thousands of handbills and translated handbook on SCSP/TSP Act explaining the present scenario, important aspects regarding the implementation of the Act and importance of the rules pertaining to the Act were distributed en-route.

The leaders garlanded the Ambedkar Statue amidst powerful slogans. Later the gathering was addressed by the Chief Guests, Prof.P.George Victor, Vice-Chancellor, AdiKavi Nannayya University and Sri. D.V. Subba Rao, Former Chairman, Bar Council of India, Representatives of Journalist Forum and Intellectuals etc. The two decorated Rathams (vehicles) were flagged off by Prof.P.George Victor and Sri. D.V. Subba Rao

Prof.P.George Victor, Vice-Chancellor, AdiKavi Nannayya University said that dalit women are

being exploited economically and socially for years past. This Act should bring out a change in their livelihood towards economic independence and social development. He appreciated DSS for imparting courage and self confidence to dalit women. Every citizen should strive for the construction of a good society and utilization of individual Acts and rights.

Sri.D.V.Subba Rao, Former Chairman, Bar Council of India said that passing an Act is not sufficient enough but its implementation plays a major role in development of the intended group. Dalit women fail to utilize their respective Acts efficiently due to lack of education, hence educating dalit women is an appreciable job by DSS. Thus, Dalit women should strive for the effective implementation of SCSP/TSP Act by gaining sufficient knowledge for developing economically and socially.

After launching the campaign, district conference on Empowerment of Dalit Women and Girl Children was held at Lions Club, Visakhapatnam and later the campaign proceeded towards Rajahmundry via NAD Kotta Road, Pendurthi, Gajuwaka, Anakapalli, Kasimkota, Tuni, Annavaram and Kattipudi centres garlanding the Ambedkar Statues and addressing the public about the campaign and the SCSP/TSP Act. From the Launching of the campaign, till the concluding day, all the public meetings and press meets held at mandal and district headquarters were addressed by the DSS state team comprising of the Convener, Program Manager, State Coordinator, District Co-ordinators, Administrator. The speakers took care to elaborately explain about the Act, the need for empowerment of Dalit Women and Girl Children.

Cultural team consisting of 7 member troop, presented performances at all places before and during the meetings with various songs about dalit women rights, the plight of dalit women and girl children and the need to struggle for the rights.

Important Events of Radha Yatra Campaign:

The campaign, which reached Rajahmundry on the second day started with a press meet at Ambedkar Bhavan. Sri Rajendra Prasad Municipal Commissioner of Rajahmundry welcomed

the campaign team and participated in the public meeting.The Ambedkar statue at the main centre of Rajahmundry town, Gokavaram bus stop, was garlanded by Geddam Jhansi, Convenor, DSS and Rajendra Prasad, Municipal Commissioner.





The gathering was addressed by the leaders of SC/ST Employee Welfare Association, Ambedkar Youth Associations, Caste Based Associations and representatives of Political Party SC/ST wings. Later, Jhansi Geddam, Convenor, DSS was felicitated by the Municipal Commissioner, Rajahmundry.


A rally was held up to Kambalapeta Ambedkar Statue via Devichowk. The rally on the roads of Rajahmundry attracted the attention of the public in a big way and they were all distributed pamphlets and booklets. The public was enthused with the powerful slogans and inspiring songs. The Ambedkar statue at Kambalapeta was garlanded followed by a public meeting.



Then the campaign reached Kakinada via Rajanagaram, Peddapuram and Samarlakota centers garlanding the Ambedkar Statues and holding Public Meetings regarding the SCSP/TSP Act. District conference was conducted at Kakinada and then the campaign reached Amalapuram via Tallarevu, Yanam, Yedurlanka, Muramalla and Mummidivaram centers garlanding the Ambedkar Statues and held Public Meetings with SC/ST Employee Welfare Associations, Ambedkar Youth Associations, Caste Based Associations and representatives of Political Party SC/ST wings. The campaign halted for the day at Social Welfare hostel, Eedarapalli, Amalapuram.

On the third day, a press meet was held at Budha Vihar, Amalapuram with RPI leaders, Human

Rights Forum Leaders, Panchayat Raj leaders. After garlanding the Ambedkar Statue at Budha Vihar the cultural team enthusiastically sang Ambedkar songs for which the entire campaign team danced and stunned the public.



A rally was held till Gadiyaram center Ambedkar Statue and the attention of the general public on the roads was drawn to the campaign theme with the powerful slogans and inspiring songs. After garlanding the Ambedkar Statue at Gadiyaram Centre, a Public meeting was held with many leaders.

The team campaigned via Bandaru Lanka, Ambaji peta, Munganda, P. Gannavaram, Jaggannapeta, Podalada, Razole and Sivakodu

centres garlanding the Ambedkar Statues and held Public Meetings and addressed gatherings. The local leaders gave a rousing welcome to the campaign team and provided their support regarding the awareness and implementation of SCSP/TSP Act. The campaign team had dinner and halted for the night in Sitharampuram village of West Godavari District.

On the fourth day, the campaign started to Narsapuram and held a Press Meet at MPDO office. The Ambedkar Statue at bus stand was garlanded and the gathering was addressed by Jhansi Geddam.

The campaign also covered Mogalthuru, Palakollu, Dagguluru and Poolapalli where Ambedkar Statues were garlanded and public meetings were held, various Employee Welfare Associations, Ambedkar Youth Associations and local leaders also participated.


Later the campaign progressed towards Chandaparru, Baggeswaram, Ballipadu, Chikkala,

Veeravasaram, Srungavruksham, Pennada, Goraganamudi, Vissakoderu, Bhimavaram, Undi, Aakiveedu, Pallevada, Bhujabalapatnam, Kaikaluru, Maheswarapuram and Lingaroagudem garlanding the Ambedkar Statues and addressed the gathering with the songs of cultural teams and public meetings and reached Eluru for night Stay. A public meeting was organized by Abraham, Director, Jana Nirman at Andhra Pradesh Social Service Center.

On the fifth day, district conference of West Godavari was held at Conference Hall, Surya Residency, Eluru and later progressed towards Madepalli, Sriparru, Kovvadalanka, Hanuman Junction, Gannavaram and reached Vijayawada. Ambedkar Statues were garlanded and public were addressed where various Employee Welfare Associations, Ambedkar Youth Associations and local leaders also participated.

On the sixth day the Ambedkar statue at control room of Vijayawada was garlanded and a rally was taken out on the road upto Lenin centre followed by Manavaharam(human chain). Powerful slogans and songs were given throughout the rally. Later the district conference of Krishna District was held at Rotary Club, Vijayawada. After the district conference, campaign proceeded towards Giripuram, Badavapeta, Jojinagar, Singhnagar, Prakashnagar by having focused group discussions with local leaders and addressed the gatherings.

On day seven, the campaign proceeded towards Mangalagiri, Pedavadlapudi, Duggirala,

Narakodur and Chebrole of Guntur District. Enroute, Ambedkar Statues were garlanded and held Public Meetings and addressed the gathering. The local leaders gave a rousing welcome to the campaign team at all places and extended their support to the campaign theme regarding the awareness and implementation of SCSP/TSP Act. The campaign team had dinner and halted for the night in Pathareddypalem village of Guntur District.

On the eight day, the campaign reached Ambedkar statue, Lodge centre, Guntur, garlanded the statue and held a rally upto the venue of district conference of Guntur at conference hall, SC Corporation, Guntur. The rally went through the main centers of the city catching the eye of the public with the slogans and songs. After the district conference, the campaign



proceeded towards Pedakakani, Kaza, Ibrahimpatnam, Kanchikacherla, Nandigama, Kodada and Suryapet by garlanding the enroute Ambedkar statues and addressing the gatherings. Later the campaign proceeded towards Ranga Reddy district and halted at Narayanpur village of Rangareddy District for the night.


On the ninth day, the district conference of Ranga Reddy was held at conference hall, Municipal Office, Vikarabad. After the conference the campaign proceeded towards Allampalli, Kottagadi, Sivareddypeta, Manneguda, Antaram, Khanapur, Malkapur and Tolkutta. The local leaders gave a rousing welcome to the campaign team with drums, garlands and flowers. Panchayatraj leaders of the respective areas have actively involved and shared their concerns on SCSP/TSP Act. Convener of DSS was felicitated and the leaders have appreciated the bold approach of DSS in addressing the incidents of violence. A press meet was addressed at Ambedkar Bhavan, Chevella and later the campaign proceeded towards Pedamangalaram and halted at Moinabad of Ranga Reddy district for the night. Ambedkar Statues were garlanded, Public Meetings were held and gatherings were addressed.


On the tenth day the campaign reached Ambedkar statue, Tank Bund, Hyderabad. Ambedkar statue was garlanded by Jhansi Geddam, Convener, GDV Prakash, Program Manager, Susanna, State Coordinator, District Coordinators and State Women Collective members of DSS and later preceded towards Press Club, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad for the valedictory meeting.