Measures for the welfare of scheduled castes in crisis - Daily Current Affair Article


Today the whole world is going through a difficult phase of the COVID-19 epidemic, its impact is also on India and the marginal class of India is very much affected by it. Around 16.5% of India's population belongs to the scheduled castes, which is one among the marginalized and deprived.


  • At present, India is facing the double crisis of Coronavirus and economic recession, which is a matter of concern for the entire population of India. In this situation, India's traditionally vulnerable groups are more vulnerable to these crises.
  • In this difficult time, appropriate steps are being taken by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to improve the disadvantaged sections. These disadvantaged groups also include Scheduled Castes who lead about 16.5% of India's population. This class was most affected during the COVID period.

Provisions made during the Scheduled Caste crisis

Education Scheme for Scheduled Caste Students

  • There has been an increase in Post Metric Scholarship for Scheduled Caste students, this scholarship amount which was 1800 crores in 2014-15 has reached about 3250 crores in 2018-19 out of which a total of 700000 people have benefited by 2020- 21 proposes to cover 1000000 students under post-metric scholarship
  • A central database covering all the beneficiaries will be developed under the scheme.
  • This commitment has been ended for the states, a ratio of 60: 40 has been kept for the scholarship between the center and the state while the sharing here is 90:10 in the northeastern states, the budget of 700 crores for this work for 2020 Payment placed will be through DBT.
  • Under the Excellent Education Scheme, the fees, food, laptops, and other accessories will be taken for the study of scheduled caste students who have been selected from 220 excellent institutions.
  • In this context, the expenditure from 2009 to 2014 was about 78.11 crores which have increased to Rs 164.39 crores between 2014 - 2019. The number of beneficiaries has increased from 5716 to 9544 in the same time interval, its eligibility limit has been increased from 450000to 600000.

Medical aid scheme

  • Under the Dr. Ambedkar Medical Assistance Scheme, the financially weaker sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were started in 2009 for the treatment of serious diseases, which benefited 272 people by 2014 while 1029 people benefited from 2014 to 2020.

Economic Empowerment of Scheduled Castes

  • Scheme of Special Central Assistance for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan for Economic Empowerment (SCA for SCSP) aims at increasing the income of Scheduled Castes persons through income generation scheme, skill development programs, and infrastructure development in scheduled caste-dominated villages.
  • During the period from 2009 to 2014, average expenses were incurred annually. An average of Rs 827.5 crore has been spent annually during 2014-2020 as compared to Rs 701 crore. Accordingly, the budget estimate for 2020-21 has also been increased to Rs 1200 crore.

Scheme for Scheduled Castes entrepreneurs

  • The Vatcher Capital Scheme was launched in December 2015 with an initial capital of Rs 200 crores to promote entrepreneurship of Scheduled Castes and provide concessional finance to them. Under this scheme, a fund of about 400 crores has been sanctioned to 107 scheduled caste entrepreneurs by February 2020.
  • Similarly, the objective of the Venture Capital Fund Scheme, launched in 2017-18 for the economic development of OBCs, is to promote entrepreneurs from the targeted beneficiaries through providing concessional finance to the backward classes for employment generation.
  • Recently, two new schemes to increase the maximum entrepreneurship in these sections, financial assistance of the disadvantaged unit groups and classes - VISVAS and Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission - ASIIM have been launched.
  • Apart from these special schemes, various types of skill development programs are being run by the Ministry through various Finance Development Corporations, besides, to finance at concessional rates for different jobs.
  • From 2014 to May 2020, important action has been taken to link 15,17,754 people with employment under the Ministry of Finance Development Corporations by sanctioning self-employment loans amounting to Rs 5778.79 crore.
  • Similarly, through these development corporations from 2014 to May 2020, about 17,67,106 people have been given various types of vocational training by spending Rs 243 crore.

Constitutional Provisions for Scheduled Castes

  • Article 15: Special provision for the advancement of backward classes (including Schedule Caste)
  • Article 16 (4) - Reservation in public employment
  • Article 17: Abolition of untouchability
  • Article 330: Reservation of seats in Lok Sabha.
  • Article 332: Reservation of seats in state assemblies
  • Article 335: SC and ST claims will be considered for making appointments in public services of Center and States
  • Article 243: Reservation in Panchayats and Municipalities

Challenges arising in the welfare of Scheduled Castes

  • Due to a lack of awareness among the scheduled castes, they are not aware of the government schemes.
  • Somewhere the section of society that exploits the Scheduled Castes opposes their welfare.
  • Along with this, the problem of poverty of Scheduled Castes makes them more vulnerable.
  • Due to government apathy and policy inequality, welfare schemes do not reach them.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

The ministry is mainly divided into two parts

  1. Social Justice and Empowerment Department
  2. Department of Disability Empowerment

Social Justice and Empowerment Department

  • It aims to create an inclusive society in which the members of the target group can lead an active, secure, and dignified life by getting suitable support for their progress and development.
  • This department looks after the work related to Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, Senior Citizen, Alcoholic, and Substance Abuse, Transgender Beggars Excluded Nomad Tribes and Economically Backward Class

Department of PwD Empowerment

  • It was formed on 12 May 2012 under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as per the notification on 14 May 2016 the name of this department was changed to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Its main objective is to create an inclusive society in which disabled people can be promoted to provide useful, safe, and dignified lives, and they are given equal development opportunities.

The conclusion

Though steps are taken by the government and civil society for the upliftment of the scheduled castes, traditionally their vulnerability has remained constant. There is a need to improve the status of Scheduled Castes for the establishment of social justice in the country. To improve their condition, public participation will have to be increased.

General Studies Paper 2
  • Social Justice

Mains Question:-

  • The Scheduled Castes are one of the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of India. While discussing measures for the protection of scheduled castes in India, state the steps taken by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the improvement of the Scheduled Castes?