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Tracking Funds for India’s Most Deprived: The Story of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights’ “Campaign 789″

By: Vimala Ramachandran, Sapna Goel

On 31 August 2010 the home minister of India made a startling statement on the floor of the national Parliament, “In my prima facie view using Rs. 678 crores (INR 6.78 billion) out of SCSP to the commonwealth games infrastructure appears to be wrong.” This statement seemed to be quite innocuous; however, the significance was not lost on the country’s citizens. The national and international media picked it up, civil society and human rights groups celebrated a major milestone, and organizations working with the most deprived social group in India, the Dalits, were overjoyed.  This is the story of the campaign that led to the government admitting that it had diverted funds earmarked for development away from one of the most deprived and discriminated communities in Indian society.