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Musahar Group in the 12th Five-Year Plan Musahar group has been a victim of social and economic exploitation

for centuries, with the problems having worsened in recent decades. The poverty faced by them is an extremely complex phenomenon, which manifests itself in economic, political and social deprivations. These included no assets, lowincome levels, hunger, dismal health, poor education, insecurity, physical and psychological hardships, social exclusion and discrimination. Socially they are considered at the lowest rank of the society and they are treated as untouchables within Dalits groups. Over the years, Musahar group has also become more marginalized due to their diminishing sources of traditional means of livelihood. Their traditional livelihood was disturbed due to over distortion of natural resources. Originally Musahar group was forest dwellers and used to depend upon forest produce and agriculture. But eventually they have become landless agricultural labourers. At present, Musahar Group comes under Schedule Caste category. Caritas India has been working with the Musahar groups through its partner organizations in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. While working with the musahar groups, the organization has attempted to understand their structural causes of marginalization and has realized their pathetic living conditions. In the due course of intervention with the Musahar Group, the organization has decided to focus on Policy advocacy work for the Musahar Group. Uttar Pradesh Bihar (Musahar & Mhuiya considered same caste) No census based secondary 1931 census report Total 16 Lakh information Approx 12 Lakh (Musahar 7 Lakh and Bhuiya 9) population mainly in Eastern Uttar 2001 Census report Total 29 Lakh The response of the larger society is very confusing in the case for the Musahar Group as the local non-Musahars groups, panchayat members & functionaries, government officials and media functionaries do accept the extreme vulnerability and marginalization of Musahar but they are not as responsive and progressive towards them. This indicates that there is a gap in ongoing development and Musahar lives. And Caritas India is making efforts by it policy advocacy intervention in bridging this gap. Mr. Girish Kumar, State Manager, Bihar, Mr. Anjan Bag, Caritas India and Mr. Ashok Kumar Sinha, Development Consultant, Caritas India has been making efforts in mobilizing the different stakeholders for making this happen in planned way. In this context, Caritas India along with its partner organizations and civil society groups conducted a consultation meeting titled Musahar in 12th Five-Year Plan in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on 14th and 15th October 2011 respectively. The aim of the workshop was to understand the condition and position of the Musahar caste and come out with a policy recommendation in favour of them.

These two state level consultation meetings were instrumental in seeking the support and solidarity from larger civil society groups as well as political and administrative representatives in more planned way. Mr. Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Minister SC / ST Welfare, Government of Bihar has issued a letter for sharing his viewpoint for the upliftment of the Musahar Community Groups. (Shri Jeeten Ram Manjhi has not attended the consultation meeting and directed for reading his message on his behalf). Mr. Prabhat Kumar, Director, SC/ST Welfare and Mr. Indrajit Mukherjee, Asstt. Director, SC/ST Welfare, Government of Bihar has participated in the workshop and briefed the intervention of the state in general for the SC, ST and Mahadalit. Mr. Prabhat has communicated the message of his senior, Mr. Ravi Parmar, Secretary, SC/ST welfare that the state government of Bihar has given recommendation through civil society consultation processes to steering committee member for SC / ST and Mahadalits in general. But this initiative for demanding inclusive plan within the plan is also tempting all of us and we will definitely support it and do the needful on behalf of our department. The recommendations from the department are as follows Distribution of at least 01 - acre agriculture land to Musahar Families Distribution of at least 03 decimal homestead land to Musahar Families To improve the literacy status of Musahar Community establishment of Special education centers for Musahar children. Selection of health workers from Musahar Community so that the cases of Kala Azar & TB can be reduced.

We appreciate the initiatives taken by state government of Bihar for their recommendation for SC/ST steering committee to the planning commission. But here we are presenting intensively about the Musahar group for placing the policy measures in the 12th Five-Year Plan, as Musahar group deserve it most. Our general approach will be not able to address the need of the Musahar Community. The inclusive plan growth approach for the Musahar group will be more effective in not only enhancing their social, economic & political status but inclusive approach will respect their dignity and selfrespect. Mr. Ashok Kumar Sinha shared about Draft Paper Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth - An Approach to the 12th Five Year Plan. Mr. Ashok also explained about the Chapter 11 Social and Regional Equity of the Draft approach paper, which is talking about plan within plan and in this direction Caritas India will do the needful for placing the policy recommendation in Draft Approach Paper in Chapter 11 Social and Regional Equity.

With this background, we would like to recommend following points to representative of planning commission as well as state and central government to ensure dignify lives for the Musahar community groups Policy Recommendations Setting up of Research Unit for identification of Musahar Habitation in the state of Bihar & Uttar Pradesh and assessment of their socioeconomic profile Separate census should be planned for the Musahar group by credible external agency Need to work out legitimized processes for recognition of Musahar caste in the Schedule Tribe category - The cultural, social and historical background of the Musahar caste is very much similar with the adivasi culture. Keeping these in mind one should make efforts for constitution of committee for doing homework for legitimizes action. Presently Musahar group comes under Schedule Caste Category. Creating space in PRIs bodies (local self governance) for inclusive plan for the Musahar with gender perspective Special Package Plan for the Musahar group for addressing their multiple ranges of problems like livelihood, health, education, water & sanitation, etc. Provide more inclusive space in the current MNREGA programme like ensuring job card for all eligible adult of the households 100 per cent habitation for the Musahar Families by launching special AWAS YOJNA for them Special efforts is needed for checking illegal liquor making business close to Musahar habitation Special Anti Liquor Drive is also needed jointly with civil society organization and government

Though reservation is a political agenda but quota within quota is important need for the Musahar group as they are very low in various development indicators Musahar group have comparatively proper space in the Political Processes in the state of Bihar in comparision to state of Uttar Pradesh at present 09 MLA are belong to Musahar Community in Bihar but there is no representation of Musahar group in the state of Uttar Pradesh one should study the representation of less populated social group in political position from Nepal and according quota should be fixed for Musahar Caste in the state of Uttar Pradesh

Special provision should be planned with intensive capacity building programme for the Musahar person (women & men) for recruiting them in village and block level service Land and Forest Rights Formation of Task Force for assessing the Land Titled status (Agriculture & Homestead) of the musahar group Making special provision for Fast Track Court for addressing the land distortion cases within a limited time-frame A committee should be formed for ensuring land rights as per the Forest Regulation Act, 2006

Livelihood Promotion Area specific Livelihood Promotional interventions - local level livestock rearing activities such as goat, piggery, etc. should be promoted Special drive for skill enhancement for the Musahar Group Community towards self and job employability

Wage work under MNREGA o 240 days of work in one financial year under MNREGA o Rs. 200/- per day under MNREGA o Creation of assets under MNREGA favouring Musahar group Health Promotion Comprehensive Health Awareness Programmes and Health Camp Drive in the Musahar concentrated hamlet / tola more frequency needed for the Musahar Habitation tola Special Nutrition Security Plan for Musahar children

Education Promotion Full-fledged residential schools for Musahar children in highly Musahar concentrated/ populated area Provision for special tutorial classes for musahar children including other weaker children Mass Intensive awareness drive should be planned for the Musahar habitation by using tradition folk and other means of communication channel Entitlement realization Giving priority to schemes/programs Musahar families in accessing government

Gram sabha should have instruction for giving priorities to Musahar group for making resolution for eligible beneficiary from Musahar families Services like Water & Sanitation, Health, Education should be implemented in close to Musahar habitation Appeal byCaritas India Team Members with support and solidarity from Musahar Leader, CSOs representative, State Administrative Functionaries and Political Representatives Caritas India, Divya Deepti Sadan, 9-10, Bhai Veersingh Marg. New Delhi.110 001 Tel: +91 1165293191

For further details please contact Mr. Ashok Kumar Sinha Development Consultant, Caritas India Mob No - +91 - 9968590875 Email - ashokmohit@gmail.com Mr. Girish Peter State Manager, Bihar, Caritas India Mob No - +91 - 9308608562 Email - girish@caritasindia.net