Scheduled Caste Welfare - About the Division
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry to oversee the interests of the Scheduled Castes. Though the primary responsibility for promotion of interests of the Scheduled Castes rests with all the Central Ministries in the area of their operations and the State Governments, the Ministry complements their efforts by way of interventions in critical sectors through specifically tailored schemes. Efforts made by State Governments and Central Ministries for protecting and promoting the interests of Scheduled Castes are also monitored.
Under the Scheduled Castes Development Bureau, the Ministry implements Schedules Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) which is an umbrella strategy to ensure flow of targeted financial and physical benefits from all the general sectors of development for the benefit of Scheduled Castes. Under the strategy, States/UTs are required to formulate and implement Special Component Plan (SCP) for Scheduled Castes as part of their Annual Plans by earmarking resources. At present 27 States/UTs having sizeable SC population are implementing Schedules Caste Sub-Plan.
Another policy initiative for the development of Scheduled Castes is Special Central Assistance to Special Component Plan, in which cent percent assistance is given as additive to Schedules Caste Sub-Plan of the States/UTs on the basis of certain criteria such as SC population of the States/UTs, relative backwardness of the States/UTs percentage SC families in the States/UTs covered by composite economic development programmes in the State Plan to enable them to cross the poverty line, percentage of SCP to the Annual Plan as compared to SC population percentage of the States/UTs.
The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) set up under the Ministry provides credit facilities to persons belonging to Scheduled castes living below double the poverty line limits (presently Rs.81,000/- p.a. for rural areas and Rs.103,000/- p.a. for urban areas), for income generating activities.
Another Corporation under the Ministry viz. National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Cooporation(NSKFDC) provides credit facilities to beneficiaries viz. Safai Karamcharis, scavengers and their dependents for income generating activities for socio-economic development through State Channelising Agencies.
The Ministry implements two Acts for protecting the civil rights of the Scheduled Castes viz.
- Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and
- The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989).
- The prohibition of employment as Manual Scavengers & their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The Ministry also deals with the following important issues, with regard to Scheduled Castes Development:
- Monitoring of points 11(A) of 20 point programme - Justice to Scheduled Castes.
- Affirmative Action including reservation in private sector for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.