People at the Margins: Whose Budget? Whose Rights? Towards Inclusive Budgeting for Dalit Women


This paper presents the findings and recommendations of a 2012-13 study by the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. The study examined if priority is given to Dalit girls in education policy, specifically the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme, which was introduced in 2004. The scheme guarantees residential schooling to upper primary-level girls (Class 6-8) from marginalised communities.

The study analysed budget and policy documents as well as primary data gathered at 12 KGBVs in Munger and Aurangabad districts of Bihar. It found that the budget for the scheme was low, it was poorly implemented, and it didn’t provide Dalit girls with a ‘non-oppressive’ learning environment. The study recommended that KGBVs should be strengthened at the national and state levels by increasing budgets. It also suggested setting up mechanisms to redress grievances, transparent student selection processes, and bal panchayats for girls.


  1. Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) provide 75 per cent reservation to girls from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Classes and minority communities. Girls from families below the poverty line are given priority for the remaining 25 per cent of the seats. 

  2. The central government provides 65 per cent of the funding for the KGBV scheme, and state governments provide the remaining 35 per cent. 

  3. The study found that the scheme suffered from poor utilisation of funds. In Bihar in 2012-13, only 17 per cent of the funds allocated for the scheme were used.

  4. Of the 12 KGBVs examined in the study, a quarter were being run in temporary buildings.

  5. On average, each KGBV had four bathrooms and six toilets. The ratio of girls to bathrooms and girls to toilets was 25:1 and 16:1, respectively. Also, 50 per cent of the hostels had only hand pumps and the students had to queue up to fill buckets for use inside the bathrooms and toilets. 

  6. Less than half of the 12 schools surveyed had a library for students.

  7. A total of 100 parents were interviewed for the study. Of these, 78 per cent said their reliance on their daughter’s labour prevented them from letting her pursue higher education.

  8. 40 per cent of the parents whose daughters were out of school were not aware of the KGBVs. 

  9. The parents of out-of-school girls cited the fear of institutionalised forms of discrimination at schools as one of the main reasons for not availing the KGBV scheme.

  10. Dalit girls reported experiences of caste and gender discrimination in the KGBVs. They complained of teachers misbehaving with them and of being forced to clean toilets and classrooms. 

  11. The 12th Five Year Plan recommended that two KGBVs function in each Educationally Backward Block (EBB). An EBB has a rural female literacy rate that is below the national female literacy rate (as per Census 2011) and a gender gap in literacy that is higher than the national gap.

  12. The study recommends that the KGBV scheme be extended till Class 12. It also says that state governments must maintain a database to monitor KGBV students and provide them mentoring and counselling support till the age of 18.


    Focus and Factoids by Vasundhara Kamath.


Asha Kowtal and Binish Nafees (for the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch)


Published by UN Women 
Supported by the Ford Foundation