CAMPAIGN FOR MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND ESSENTIAL SERVICES FOR DALITS AND MUSLIMS
At the Millenium Summit organised by the United Nations in September 2000, 189 countries committed to working towards a world in which sustainable development and eliminating poverty would have the highest priority. Eight MDGs were adopted by a consensus to measure progress in areas related to people’s well-being. In India, these MDGs are criticallyimportant for the historically excluded and marginalised Dalits, Adivasis and Minorities, particularly the Muslims, as most of them are the poorest of the poor and have very low Human Development Indicators. Being about 40% of India’s total population, it is critically important that Dalits, Adivasis and the Muslims achieve these Millenium Development Goals as without them India would fail to achieve MDGs by 2015.
Since 2005, CADAM has been playing critical role in highlighting the importance of the MDGs and ensuring essential services to the socially excluded Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Muslims. As these three sections form the largest group of socially excluded in India and most of the indicators and targets of MDGs and essential services in respect of these sections are extremely poor, CADAM has worked closely with the policy makers and influenced the decision-making process. CADAM and its platform NACDOR continue to provide critical inputs to the Members of Parliament in various committees of the Lok Sabha and RajyaSabha.
CADAM started a campaign titled “Bridging the Gaps” to emphasise on the status of Dalits, Adivasis and Msulims vis-a-vis MDGs in 2012-2013. The focus was to address distorted development and raise awareness amidst the underprivileged to fight for their rights. The ‘National Campaign for Bridging the Gaps (popularly, known as BRIDGING THE GAPS) was launched in December, 2012, by building capacity of the Dalit/Adivasi/Minority activists and their organisations (CBOs/CSOs). It had oriented them to direct their involvement in highlighting the critical development gaps and raising demands for bridging these gaps. A total pf 198 social activists were identified from UP (Lucknow- 31st October, 2012), Jharkhand (Ranchi- 4th October, 2012), Bihar (Patna-13th October, 2012) and Delhi who were oriented about the campaign. It enabled them to understand underlying concepts, existing developmental gaps and develop an understanding at national level to enable them to discuss and disseminate these with the community. These Dalit activists carried out awareness campagn in their respective areas through IEC materials and community meetings. Three sessions on Bridging the Gaps were organised in the 3rd NACDOR conference held from 4th-8th December in New Delhi and which launched the campaign for wider acceptability. A national declarationon “Bridge The Gaps” was adopted by the National Conference. The campaign was supported by Oxfam