Social Welfare Programmes of India
Social Welfare sector is responsible for the welfare, rehabilitation and development of the Persons with Disabilities, the Social Deviants, and the Other Disadvantaged who require special attention of the State because of the disabilities and vulnerabilities they suffer from.
While there is no information about the size of the population of these target groups, the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) made a rough estimate of the size of the Disabled as 16.15 million in 1991, representing 1.9 per cent of the country’s total population. Similarly, in respect of Social Deviants, sample studies indicate that there were about 1.0 lakh adult sex workers and 0.39 lakh child sex workers in 1991; 0.17 lakh juvenile delinquents in 1993; and about 2.48 lakh drug addicts in 1998. Among the Other Disadvantaged Groups, street children numbered around 4.15 lakhs in 1992 and the population of Older Persons (60+) is expected to be 68.51 million by the year 2000.
In the year 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare. Simultaneously, the Scheduled Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Division were moved from the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Wakf Division from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare
Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in May, 1998. Further, in October, 1999, the Tribal Development Division had moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In January, 2007, the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit have been moved out of the Ministry and formed as a separate Ministry and the Child Development Division has gone to the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
Though the subject of “Disability” figures in the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, The Government of India has always been proactive in the disability sector. It is not only running seven National Institutes (NIs) dealing with various types on disabilities and seven Composite Regional Centers (CRCs), which provide rehabilitation services to PwDs and run courses for rehabilitation professional but also funds a large number of NGOs for similar services and also a National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC) which provides loans at concession rates of interest to PwDs for self-employment. Besides, the Union Government is a party to (i) Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and the Pacific Region – adopted at Beijing in December, 1992, and (ii) The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which came into effect in May, 2008.
Important Constitutional Provisions relevant for the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment
Directive Principles of State Policy
Part IV of the Constitution lays down certain “Directive Principles of State Policy” which, though not enforceable by any Court, “are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country” and “it shall be the duty of the State to apply” them in making laws.
Other important Constitutional provisions
- Article 17 of the Constitution abolishes untouchability, forbids its practice in any form, and declares enforcement of any disability arising out of “untouchability” to be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
- Article 338 provides for constitution of a National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), to, inter- alia, “investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes” in the Constitution, any law, or order of the Government, and “to evaluate the working of such safeguards”. Further, as per clause (9) of this Article, “the Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting the Scheduled Castes.”
- Article 340 of the Constitution deals with appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes. A Commission so appointed shall investigate the matters referred to them and present to the President a report setting out the facts as found by them and making such recommendations as they think proper.
- Articles 15 and 16, also enable reservation for Backward Classes in admission to educational institutions, and in public employment.
- For purposes of Article 338 (“National Commission for Scheduled Castes”), “reference to the Scheduled Castes shall be construed as including references to “other backward classes” including the Anglo Indian Community.
- Article 41 provides for “Right to work, Right to education and Right to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want”.
- Article 47 provides for “Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health” and makes provisions for interalia, curbing consumption of intoxicating substances, which are injurious to health.
- The following articles provide for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes in elections to various bodies:
- Article 330: Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha
- Article 332: Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States
- Article 243D: Reservation of seats in Panchayats
- Article 243T: Reservation of seats in Municipalities
With the Planning Commission being replaced by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) and the allocative functions relating to schemes being performed by the Ministry of Finance, the need for a revised framework of public expenditure budgeting was felt. Focus is now on a policy change that would reflect changing macroeconomic conditions as well as changes in strategic priorities of the government.
The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment is entrusted with the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. The target groups of the Ministry are:
- Scheduled Castes
- Other Backward Classes
- Senior Citizens
- Victims of Substance Abuse
- Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes
The Ministry has been implementing various programmes/schemes for social, educational and economic development of the target groups. As a result there has been considerable improvement in the welfare of these groups. Due to discontinuance of caste census after 1931, disaggregated demographic data for OBCs is not available. The Mandal Commission had estimated OBC population at 52% of the total population. Similarly, authentic data for Victims of Substance Abuse is not available. At least 1% of the population is understood to be addicted.
These objectives are fulfilled through programmes for
- Educational, economic and social empowerment of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs);
- Support to Senior Citizens by way of their Maintenance, Welfare, Security, Health Care and Productive and independent living and;
- Rehabilitation, through ‘whole person recovery’ approach, of victims of substance abuse
Categorization of Schemes
The schemes being implemented by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment aim towards the economic, educational and social empowerment of its target groups.
While schemes of educational empowerment of SCs, OBCs, EBCs and DNTs include
- Scholarships Schemes
- Schemes relating to Construction of Hostels
- Schemes relating to Coaching of the students,
Schemes of economic empowerment of these target groups include
- Loans at concessional rates of interest
- Micro credit and
- Skill development.
The schemes aiming towards social empowerment of the target groups include
- Curbing practice of untouchability, discrimination & atrocities
- Support to NGOs working for target groups like SCs and OBCs
- Recognition through National awards etc.
- The schemes being implemented for the social defence are mainly for Senior Citizens, and victims of Substance (Drug) Abuse and Alcoholism
Scheduled Castes Development
Indian society historically had a rigid, occupation-based, hierarchical caste system in which the relative place of a caste in the social hierarchy was determined largely by its traditional occupation. In particular, those performing ‘unclean’ or supposedly ‘polluting’ tasks came to be regarded not merely as ‘low’ castes but as ‘untouchables’. The practice of ‘untouchability’ resulted in great injustice to the members of the concerned castes because they were discriminated against in every respect, and denied ownership of productive assets like land, as well as basic rights like education and equality, which resulted in perpetuation of their extreme socio-economic deprivation.
The 1931 Census, for the first time, Government systematically categorized certain castes as ‘depressed classes’. Thereafter, the Government of India Act, 1935, for the first time, provided for notification of socially disadvantaged castes as ‘Scheduled Castes’, and a list of such castes was accordingly notified in the Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936.
The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26.01.1950, inter-alia, abolished “untouchability” and provided several special safeguards for the Scheduled Castes, so as to ensure that they are able to attain equality with the other social groups in the shortest possible time. These safeguards enabled reservation in elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies and reservation in Government jobs.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry to oversee the development and empowerment of the Scheduled Castes. Though the primary responsibility rests with various Central Ministries and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, the Ministry of SJ&E has been assigned nodal responsibility in this regard, which also complements their efforts by way of interventions like scholarships, hostels, concessional loans, etc.
In exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 341 of the Constitution of India, the President so far has made the following six Orders specifying “Scheduled Castes” in 27 States & 5 Union Territories:
- The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
- The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) (Union Territories) Order, 1951,
- The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir), Scheduled Castes Order, 1956,
- The Constitution (Dadra and Nagar Haveli) Scheduled Castes Order, 1962,
- The Constitution (Pondicherry), Scheduled Castes Order, 1964,
- The Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Castes Order, 1978.
The above orders have been amended by Acts of Parliament from time to time, the last being in the year 2017. A total of 1263 castes have so far been specified as Scheduled Castes. No community has been specified as Scheduled Caste in respect of States of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and the Union territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
Initiatives taken for SC development
Various scholarships are provided to the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) to ensure that education is not denied due to the poor financial condition of their families. These Scholarships are provided at both pre-matric and post-matric levels. Scholarships are also provided to SC students for obtaining higher education in India and abroad, including premier educational institutions. The Scholarships can broadly be classified into the following three types:
- Pre-Matric Scholarships: The objective of the pre-matric Scheme is to support the parents of SC children for educating their wards, so that the incidence of drop outs at this stage is minimized.
- Pre-Matric Scholarship to SC Student: The objective of the pre-matric Scheme is to support the parents of SC children for educating their wards, so that the incidence of drop outs at this stage is minimized.
- Pre-Matric Scholarship to the Children of those engaged in occupations involving cleaning and prone to health hazards: This is also a centrally sponsored scheme, which is implemented by the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, which receive 100% central assistance from the Government of India for the total expenditure under the scheme, over and above their respective Committed Liability.
- Post Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Caste Students (PMS-SC): The Scheme is the single largest intervention by Government of India for educational empowerment of scheduled caste students. This is a centrally sponsored scheme. 100% central assistance is released to State Governments/UTs for expenditure incurred by them under the scheme over and above their respective committed liability.
- Scholarships for obtaining Higher Education and Coaching Scheme: These include:
- Top Class Education for Scheduled Caste Students : The objective of the Scheme is to promote qualitative education amongst students belonging to Scheduled Castes, by providing full financial support for pursuing studies beyond 12th class, in notified institutes of excellence like IITs, NITs, IIMs, reputed Medical/Law and other institutions. Scholarship is awarded to the eligible SC students on securing admission in any of the institutions notified by the Ministry.
- National Fellowship: The Scheme provides financial assistance to SC students for pursuing research studies leading to M.Phil, Ph.D and equivalent research degrees.
- National Overseas Scholarship: The Scheme provides assistance to students belonging to SCs, de-notified, nomadic, semi-nomadic tribes etc for pursuing higher studies of Master level courses and PhD programmes abroad.
- Free Coaching for SC and OBC Students: The objective of the Scheme is to provide coaching of good quality for economically disadvantaged SC and OBC candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations and succeed in obtaining an appropriate job in Public/Private sector. The Scheme provides central assistance to institutions/centres run by the Central/State Governments/UT Administrations, Central/ State Universities, PSUs, Registered Private Institutions, NGOs, etc. Coaching is provided for Group ‘A’ & ‘B’ examinations conducted by the UPSC, SSC, various Railway Recruitment Boards and State PSCs; Officers’ Grade examinations conducted by Banks, Insurance Companies and PSUs; and Premier Entrance examinations for admission in Engineering, Medical and Professional courses like Management, Law etc.
- National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC): Set up under the Ministry, to finance income generating activities of Scheduled Caste beneficiaries living below double the poverty line limits (presently Rs 98,000/- per annum for rural areas and Rs 1,20,000/- per annum for urban areas). NSFDC assists the target group by way of refinancing loans, skill training, Entrepreneurship Development Programmes and providing marketing support through State Channelizing Agencies, RRBs, Public Sector Bank and Other Institutions
- National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC): It is another corporation under the Ministry which provides credit facilities to beneficiaries amongst Safai Karamcharis, manual scavengers and their dependants for income generating activities for socio-economic development through State Channelizing Agencies
- Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP): It is a policy initiative for development of Scheduled Castes in which 100 % assistance is given as an additive to SCSP of the States/ UTs on the basis of certain criteria such as SC population of the States/UTs, relative backwardness of States/UTs, percentage of SC families in the States/ UTs covered by composite economic development programmes in the State Plan to enable them to cross the poverty line, etc. It 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 this Scheme, the States /UTs are required to formulate and implement Special Component Plan (SCP) for Scheduled Castes as part of their annual plans by earmarking resources
- Scheme of Assistance to Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs): Share Capital contribution is released to the State Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs) under a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in the ratio of 49:51 between Central Government and State Governments. There are in total 27 such State-level Corporations which are working for the economic development of Scheduled Castes, although some of these Corporations are also catering to the requirements of other weaker sections of the Society, e.g. Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, Minorities etc. The main functions of SCDCs include identification of eligible SC families and motivating them to undertake economic development schemes, sponsoring the schemes to financial institutions for credit support, providing financial assistance in the form of the margin money at a low rate of interest, providing subsidy out of the funds made available to the States under the Scheme of Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan of the States to reduce the repayment liability and providing necessary tie up with other poverty alleviation programmes. The SCDCs are playing an important role in providing credit and missing inputs by way of margin money loans and subsidy to the target group. The SCDCs finance the employment oriented schemes covering diverse areas of economic activities which inter-alia include (i) agriculture and allied activities including minor irrigation (ii) small scale industry (iii) transport and (iv) trade and service sector
- Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes: The objective of the fund is to promote entrepreneurship amongst the Scheduled Castes who are oriented towards innovation and growth technologies and to provide concessional finance to the scheduled caste entrepreneurs. The fund has been launched on 16.01.2015. During 2014-15, Rs.200 Crore were released initially for the Fund to IFCI Limited, which is a Nodal agency to implement it
- Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes: The objective of this Scheme is to provide credit guarantee facility to Young and start-up entrepreneurs, belonging to Scheduled Castes, who aspire to be part of neo middle class category, with an objective to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled Castes. The Scheme has been launched on 06.05.2015. Initially, Rs.200 Crore has been released under the Scheme to IFCI Limited, which is a Nodal agency to implement it.
- The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955: In pursuance of Article 17 of the Constitution of India, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 was enacted and notified on 08.05.1955. Subsequently, it was amended and renamed in the year 1976 as the “Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955”. Rules under this Act, viz “The Protection of Civil Rights Rules, 1977” were notified in 1977. The Act extends to the whole of India and provides punishment for the practice of untouchability. It is implemented by the respective State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. Assistance is provided to States/ UTs for implementation of Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: Assistance is provided to States/ UTs for implementation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Financial assistance is provided to the States/ UTs for implementation of these Acts, by way of relief to atrocity victims, incentive for inter-caste marriages, awareness generation, setting up of exclusive Special courts, etc. Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 (No. 1 of 2016) was notified in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) on 01.01.2016. The Amended Act came into force w.e.f 26.01.2016.
- Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995: PoA Rules were amended in June 2014 for enhancing the relief amount to the victims of atrocities to become between Rs.75,000/- to Rs. 7,50,000/- depending upon the nature of an offence. Further Amendment done in the Principal Rules namely the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 by the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 have been notified in the Gazette of India Extraordinary on 14th April, 2016.
- The ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ (MS Act, 2013): Eradication of dry latrines and manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers in alternative occupation has been an area of high priority for the Government. Towards this end, a multi-pronged strategy was followed, consisting of the following legislative as well as programmatic interventions:
- Enactment of “Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993(1993 Act);”
- Integrated Low Cost Sanitation (ILCS) Scheme for conversion of dry latrines into sanitary latrines in urban areas; and
- Launching of National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (NSLRS).
- Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers.
In spite of the above measures taken by the Government, manual scavenging continued to exist which became evident with the release of 2011 the Census data indicating existence of more than 26 lakh insanitary latrines in the country. Therefore, Government decided to enact another law to cover all types of insanitary latrines and situations which give occasion for manual scavenging. The ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ (MS Act, 2013) was passed by the Parliament in September, 2013 and has come into force from 6th December, 2013. This Act intends to, inter alia, achieve its objectives to:
- Identify and eliminate the insanitary latrines.
i) Employment as Manual Scavengers and
ii) Hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and septic tanks
- Identify and rehabilitate the manual scavengers.
- Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY): The Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (PMAGY) is being implemented for integrated development of Scheduled Castes (SC) majority villages having SC Population concentration > 50%. Initially the scheme was launched in 1000 villages in 5 States viz. Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. The Scheme was further revised w.e.f. 22.01.2015 and extended to 1500 SC majority villages in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The principal objective of the Scheme is integrated development of SC Majority Villages:
- Primarily through convergent implementation of the relevant Central and State Schemes;
- By providing these villages Central Assistance in form of gap-filling funds to the extent of Rs.20.00 lakh per village, to be increased by another 5 lakh if State make a matching contribution.
- By providing gap-filling component to take up activities which do not get covered under the existing Central and State Government Schemes are to be taken up under the component of ‘gap filling’.
- Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojna: The primary objective of the Scheme is to attract implementing agencies for undertaking hostel construction programme with a view to provide hostel facilities to SC boys and girls studying in middle schools, higher secondary schools, colleges and universities. The Scheme provides central assistance to State Governments/ UT Administrations, Central & State Universities/ Institutions for fresh construction of hostel buildings and for expansion of the existing hostel facilities. The NGOs and Deemed Universities in private sector are eligible for central assistance only for expansion of their existing hostels facilities.
- Upgradation of Merit of SC Students: The objective of the Scheme is to upgrade the merit of Scheduled Caste students studying in Class IX to XII by providing them with facilities for education in residential /non-residential schools. Central assistance is released to the State Governments/UT Administrations for arranging remedial and special coaching for Scheduled Caste students. While remedial coaching aims at removing deficiencies in school subjects, special coaching is provided with a view to prepare students for competitive examinations for entry into professional courses like Engineering and Medical.
- Dr. Ambedkar Foundation: Dr. Ambedkar Foundation was set up on 24th March 1992, as a registered body, under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, under the aegis of the Minsitry of Welfare, Government of India. The primary object of setting up of the Foundation is to promote Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology and philosophy and also to administer some of the schemes which emanated from the Centenary Celebration Committee’s recommendations.
- Dr. Ambedkar International Centre at Janpath, New Delhi: Setting up of ‘Dr. Ambedkar National Public Library’ now renamed as ‘Dr. Ambedkar International Centre’ at Janpath New Delhi was one of the important decisions taken by the Centenary Celebrations Committee (CCC) of Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar headed by the then Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. As on date the entire land of Plot ‘A’ at Janpath, New Delhi measuring 3.25 acre is in possession of the M/o SJ&E for setting up of the ‘Centre’. The responsibility of the construction of the ‘Centre’ has been assigned to National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) at a cost of Rs. 195.00 crore. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has laid the foundation of Dr. Ambedkar International Centre on 20th April, 2015 and has announced that the project will be completed within a period of twenty months. The National Building Construction Company (NBCC), the executing agency has already started the construction work at site and it is at an advance stage.
- Dr. Ambedkar National Memorial at 26, Alipur Road, Delhi: The Dr. Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Sthal at 26, Alipur Road, Delhi, was dedicated to the Nation by the then Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 02.12.2003 and he had also inaugurated the development work at the Memorial at 26, Alipur Road, Delhi. The responsibility of the construction of Dr. Ambedkar National Memorial has been assigned to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) at an approx. cost of Rs. 99.00 Crore. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has laid the foundation of the Memorial on 21st March, 2016 and has announced that the project will be completed within a period of twenty months. The CPWD, the executing agency has already started the construction work at site.
- Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation: The Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation was established by the Government of India as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and registered under The Societies Registration Act, 1860 on 14th March 2008. The main aim of the Foundation is to propagate the ideals of the late Babu Jagjivan Ram, on social reform as well as his ideology, philosophy of life, mission and vision to create a casteless and classless society.
Vital schemes/programmes of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are as under
Special Central Assistance & Grants under Article 275(1) Of the Constitution:
Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution of India offers such sums as Parliament may by law provide shall be charged on the consolidated Fund of India in each year as grants-in-aid of the revenues of such States as Parliament may determine to be in need of assistance, and different sums may be fixed for different States: Provided that there shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India as grants-in-aid of the revenues of a State such capital and recurring sums as may be necessary to enable that State to meet the costs of such schemes of development as may be undertaken by the State with the approval of the Government of India for the purpose of promoting the welfare of Scheduled Tribes in that State or raising the level of administration of the Scheduled Areas therein to that of the administration of the rest of the areas of that State”.
This is a Central Sector Scheme and 100% grants are provided to the States. This scheme is effective in States such as Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal having Scheduled Tribe Population.
Salient features of this scheme are as under: The grants are provided to the States on the basis of ST population percentage in the State to the total tribal population of the Country. The funds are released to the State Governments against specific projects for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and strengthening of administration of tribal areas from the year 2000- 2001. A part of funds are also utilised to establish Eklavya Model residential Schools to provide quality education to ST students from class VI to XII
Scheme of Development of Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGS)
Central government has provided special assistance to States/UTs to supplement their efforts in tribal development through Tribal Sub-Plan. This assistance is basically meant for family-oriented income-generating schemes in the sectors of agriculture, horticulture, minor irrigation, soil conservation, animal husbandry, forests, education, cooperatives, fisheries, village and small scale industries and for minimum needs programme. Based on pre-agricultural level of technology, low level of literacy, declining or stagnant populations, 75 tribal communities in 17 States and 1 Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Island, have been identified and categorized as Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs). Considering the vulnerability of these groups, a Central Sector Scheme was introduced in the year 1998-99 for the all-round development of PTGs.
The scheme is very flexible, and includes housing, infrastructure development, education, health, land distribution/development, agriculture development, cattle development, social security, insurance, etc. During 2007-08, comprehensive long term “Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plans” for PTGs has been formulated for Eleventh Plan period through baseline surveys conducted by respective State Governments/Union territory. These Plans envisage a synergy between efforts of State Governments and non-governmental organizations.
Tribal Research Institutes
Fourteen Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs) have been established by Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. These Institutes are engaged in providing planning inputs to the State Governments, conducting research and evaluation studies, collection of data, codification of customary law and conduct of training, seminars and workshops. Some of these Institutes are also having museums exhibiting tribal artifacts.
Girls / Boys Hostels for STs: Girls/ boys scheme was started in third five year plan with the aim of providing residential facilities to tribal girls in the pursuit of education. Central assistance of 50% cost of construction to the states, cent percent to the Union territories is provided under the scheme. The boys hostel scheme was started in 1989- 90 under the same pattern as the girls hostel (Y. K. Singh, 2008).
Ashram Schools in Tribal Sub-Plan Areas: This centrally sponsored scheme was started in 1990-91 to provide central assistance to state and union territories on 50% and 100 % basis (Y. K. Singh, 2008).
Vocational Training Centers in Tribal Areas: This scheme under the central sector introduced in 1992-93 with the aim of developing the skills of the tribal youth in order to get employment or self-employment opportunities. The scheme envisages setting up of vocational training centres (Y. K. Singh, 2008). The proposals by NGOs are required to be routed through State Government and the recommendation of the “State Committee for Supporting Voluntary Efforts” constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary/Secretary, Tribal Welfare/Development Department of the State/UT are mandatory. The recommendation of State Committee is valid for that financial year in which it is made.
Grants-in-aid to State Tribal Development Cooperative Corporations and others
Major objective of the scheme is to augment the reach of welfare schemes of Government and fill the gaps in service deficient tribal areas, in the sectors such as education, health, drinking water, agro-horticultural productivity, social security net etc. through the efforts of voluntary organizations (VOs)/non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and to provide an environment for socio-economic upliftment and overall development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs). Any other innovative activity having direct impact on the socio-economic development or livelihood generation of STs may also be considered through voluntary efforts.
Under this scheme 90% grant is provided by the ministry and 10% cost is required to be borne by the non-governmental organizations from their own resources, except in Scheduled Areas where the Government bears100% cost. The scheme provides a list of categories of projects viz. residential school, non-residential schools, 10 or more bedded hospitals, mobile dispensaries, computer training centers, etc., which could be covered under the scheme, and also prescribes fixed financial norms. The scheme does not provide any construction cost.
The Proposals by NGOs are required to be routed through State Government and the recommendation of the “State Committee for Supporting Voluntary Efforts” constituted under the chairmanship of principal Secretary/Secretary, Tribal Welfare/Development Department of the State/UT are mandatory. The recommendation of State Committee is valid for that financial year in which it is made.
Post-Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Tribes Students
The objective of the scheme is to offer financial assistance to students belonging to Scheduled Tribes pursuing Post-Matriculation recognized courses in recognized institutions. The scheme covers professional, technical as well as non-professional and non-technical courses at various levels and the scheme also includes correspondence courses including distance and continuing education. The scheme is implemented by the State Government and UT Administrations, which receive 100% Central Assistance over and above the committed liability which is required to be borne by them from their own budgetary provisions. The committed liability is equal to the expenditure reached in the last year of the Plan period. Accordingly, the expenditure incurred in the last year of the Xth plan period, i.e. 2006-2007, has become the committed liability of State/UTs, which is required to be borne by them during each year of the 11th Five Year Plan period. The requirement of committed liability of North Eastern State has been dispensed with from 1997-98. The Scheme is in operation since 1944-45.
Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme (RGNF)
This Scheme was introduced in the year 2005-06. Under the Scheme, fellowship is provided to ST students for pursuing higher studies such as M.Phil. and Ph. D. The maximum duration of a fellowship is 5 years. Every year 667 fellowships are to be provided to ST students. The scheme is being implemented by University Grant Commission (UGC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Any ST student who has passed post-graduation from a UGC recognized University can apply under the scheme.
Major schemes for Women which are also vulnerable section of society
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY): The Government of India in the Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely, Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) for pregnant and lactating women to enhance their health and nutrition status to better enabling environment by providing cash incentives to pregnant and nursing mothers. It is being implemented using the platform of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme. The scheme was introduced in October 2010 on pilot basis now operational in 53 selected districts.
Any woman is entitled to receive the benefit of the Woman must fulfil 4 criteria:
- Pregnant women
- Not less than 19 years old
- This is her first or second live birth
- She or her husband does not work in Government / Public Sector Undertaking (Central and State)
AWWs and AWHs may also avail the benefit under the Scheme if they are not receiving paid maternity benefits from the Government and fulfill the above-mentioned 4 criteria
Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)
This scheme is also called SABLA. It is a centrally sponsored scheme, implemented through the State Governments/UTs with 100% financial assistance from the Central Government for all inputs, except nutrition provision for which Government of India will share up to the extent of 50% of the financial norms or the actual expenditure incurred, whichever is less. A combined package of services is to be provided to Adolescent Girls that would be as follows:
- Nutrition provision
- Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation
- Health check-up and Referral services
- Nutrition & Health Education (NHE)
- Counselling/Guidance on family welfare, ARSH, child care practices and home management
- Life Skill Education and accessing public services
- Vocational training for girls aged 16 and above under National Skill Development Program (NSDP)
The objectives of the scheme are as under:
- Enable self?development and empowerment of AGs.
- Improve their nutrition and health status.
- Spread awareness among them about health, hygiene, nutrition, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH), and family and child care.
- Upgrade their home?based skills, life skills and vocational skills.
- Mainstream out?of?school AGs into formal/non formal?education.
- Inform and guide them about existing public services, such as PHC, CHC, Post Office, Bank, Police Station, etc.
There are two major components under the Scheme that include Nutrition Component and Non Nutrition Component.I) Nutrition Component: Take Home Ration or Hot Cooked Meal 11?14 years: Out of school girls 14 ?18 years: both out of school and in school girls II) Non Nutrition Component. For Out of school Adolescent Girls: (2 – 3 times a week) a) 11?18 years- IFA supplementation,- Health check?up and Referral services,- Nutrition & Health Education (NHE),- Counselling / Guidance on family welfare, ARSH, child care practices- Life Skill Education and accessing public services. b) 16?18 years- Vocational training under National Skill Development Program. For In school Adolescent Girls: (twice a month – average) c) 11?18 years? Nutrition & Health Education (NHE)
Swadhar Scheme was introduced in 2001-02 with the identification of need for a project based approach to address the requirements of women in difficult circumstances. Major objective of the scheme is to comprehensively rehabilitate widows, victims of trafficking, victims of natural calamities, mentally challenged and destitute women. The scheme offers for support like food and shelter, counselling, medical facilities and vocational training to women. The scheme also envisages setting up help-lines for women in distress. In the latest Union Budget, it was proposed to merge Swadhar scheme with Short Stay Homes and renamed as Swadhar Greh. No. of Swadhar Homes to be converted into Swadhar Greh depends on receipt of requisite information from State Governments.
STEP (Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women) (20th October 2005):
The Ministry has administered ‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme’ since 1986-87 as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’. The major objective of STEP Scheme is to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country. The grant under the Scheme is given to an institution/ organisation including NGOs directly and not the States/ UTs. The assistance under STEP Scheme is available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship, including but not limited to the Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enable services along with soft skills and skills for the work place such as spoken English, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality.
Stree Shakti Puraskaar Yojna
Stree Shakti Puraskar is institutes in the name of eminent women in Indian history (Ajit Kumar Sinha, 2008). It is a series of India’s national nobilities conferred on individual women for their excellent accomplishment. The award is given in six categories, by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. It recognises the spirit of courage of a woman in difficult circumstances, who has established this spirit of courage in her personal or professional life. The award also recognises the pioneering contribution of an individual in empowering women and raising women’s issues. This scheme was instituted in 1991, the award is conferred by the President of India on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March every year at New Delhi.
Major objectives of this scheme are as under:
- To strengthen the process of economic development of rural women and create a conducive environment for social change.
- To form one lakh Self Help Women Groups based on thrift and credit principles which builds self-reliance and enable women to have greater access to control over resources.
- To create self confidence in rural women by involving them in income generating activities thereby contributing to poverty alleviation.
- To provide opportunities to the members of the groups to avail the benefits of other departmental schemes by converging the services of various departments and lending institutions to ensure women’s access to credit financing.
Short Stay Home for Women and Girls (SSH)
The Government of India initiated a programme in 1969 in the Central Sector known as the Short Stay Homes for Women & Girls to shield and rehabilitate those women and girls who are facing social and moral danger due to family glitches mental tensions, social ostracism, exploitation or other causes. The services extended in these Homes include medical care; case work services; occupational therapy; education cum vocational training and recreational facilities.
The need for providing Short Stay Homes for Women and Girls has been due to the changing pattern of life, rapid urbanization and industrialization and the resulting migration from rural to urban areas. The breakup of social institutions like the joint family, contributes considerably in creating problems of adjustment for women and young girls. Cases of marital conflict and emotional disturbance occur. This effort is made to help the women to rehabilitate themselves within a short period of time. These Short Stay Homes have been established by voluntary organizations.
A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Eligibility Criteria: Women and children who are vulnerable to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and women and children who are victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Advantages are as under: It prevents trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation through social mobilisation and involvement of local communities, awareness generation programmes, generate public discourse through workshops/seminars and such events, and any other innovative activity. Scheme facilitates rescue of victims from the place of their exploitation and place them in a safe custody.
It provides rehabilitation services, both immediate and long-term, to the victims by providing basic amenities/needs such as shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment, including counseling, legal aid and guidance and vocational training. It also facilitate reintegration of the victims into the family and society at large. Scheme enables repatriation of cross-border victims to their country of origin.
General Grant-in-Aid Scheme in the field of Women and Child Development
Vulnerability of children and aged
Children and the ageing population face different types of vulnerability. Mortality and morbidity among children are caused by poverty, their sex and caste position in society. All these have consequences on their nutrition intake, access to healthcare, environment and education. These factors directly impacts food security, education of parents and their access to correct health information and access to health care amenities. Undernourishment and chronic hunger are the important causes of death among children from poor families. Diarrhoea, acute respiratory diseases, malaria and measles are some of the main causes of death among children, most of which are either preventable or treatable with low-cost interventions. Tetanus in newborns remain a problem in at least five states: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Assam (UNICEF, India).
The vulnerability among the ageing population is not only due to illness and disability, but also due to their economic dependency upon their partners, children and other younger family members. Vulnerability among the elderly also depends on their living arrangement since the elderly are less capable of taking care of themselves compared to younger persons and need the care and support of others in several aspects. The significance of the living arrangement among the elderly becomes evident when seen in the context of their level of economic dependence. Lack of economic dependence has an impact on their access to food, clothing and healthcare. Among the basic needs of the aged people, medicine features are the highest unmet need. Healthcare of the elderly is a major concern for the society as ageing is often accompanied by multiple illnesses and physical ailments. One out of two elderly in India suffers from at least one chronic disease which requires life-long medications. Providing healthcare to elderly is a burden for especially poor households.
Among the aged, the widows, poor and disabled constitute those who are more underprivileged. Widows face structural disadvantages related with gender and marital status. There is striking gender differential that exists in the ownership of property and assets and in the participation of their management. At all India level, aged women like those in other age groups suffer from lack of ownership of property and financial assets and participation in their management compared to aged men in both urban and rural India.
Street Children and Orphans
Street children are also vulnerable group of society that needs greater attention from the government. There are groups for whom the street more than their family has become their real home, a situation in which there is no protection, supervision, or direction from responsible adults. Human Rights closely watch and estimated that approximately 18 million children live or work on the streets of India. Majority of these children are involved in crime, prostitution, gang related violence and drug trafficking.
In India, approximately 26% of the Indian population lives below the poverty line and 72 % live in rural areas. Even though the percentage of the Indian population infected with HIV/AIDS is low, it has the second largest number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in the world, the first being South Africa. Despite the many recorded gains in the recent past, issues such as gender inequity, poverty, illiteracy and the lack of basic infrastructure hinder in HIV/ AIDS prevention and treatment programs in India. The impact of the AIDS crisis has not begun to fully emerge in India and AIDS related orphaning has not been recognized. Yet, it is assessed that India has the largest number of AIDS orphans of any country and this number is expected to double in coming years. It is projected that 14% of the 4.2 million HIV/AIDS cases are children below the age of 14. In a study conducted by the ILO found that children of infected parents are heavily discriminated, 35% were denied basic amenities and 17% were forced to take up petty jobs to augment their income.
Child labour in India is a complex problem and is deep-seated in poverty. Census 1991 data suggests that there are 11.28 million working children in India. Conservative estimates state that around 300, 000 children in India are engaged in commercial sex. Child prostitution is socially acceptable in some sections of Indian society through the practice of Devadasi. Young girls from socially deprived communities are given to the ‘gods’ and they become a religious prostitute. Devadasi is banned by the Prohibition of Dedication Act of 1982. This system is predominant in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. More than 50 % of the devadasis become prostitutes: of which approximately 40 per cent join the sex trade in urban brothels and the rest are involved in prostitution in their respective villages. According to the National Commission on Women, 250,000 women have been devoted as Devadasis in Maharashtra-Karnataka border.
Schemes for Vulnerable Children
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS): The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is a governmental program implemented by the Government of India to help secure the safety of children, with a special emphasis on children in need of care and protection, juveniles in conflict or contact with the law and other vulnerable children. Main objective of this scheme is to create a central structure to provide oversight and standardization for pre-existing and evolving child protection schemes in India. Proposed in 2006 and implemented in 2009, the ICPS is administered at the state level by state child protection committees and societies and at the district level by district child protection societies, among other institutions. Basically, ICPS is based on the ideologies of ‘protection of child rights’ and ‘best interests of the child’ and aims to institutionalize services for emergency outreach, family and community based care, counselling and support. ICPS sensitizes functionaries in the system towards child protection, and raise public awareness. It seeks to put in place both preventive and curative mechanisms for a child needing protection from exploitation, harassment, and health hazards. The model adopts government-civil society partnership to ensure child protection and create a safe and healthy environment for the children of India.
National Awards for Child Welfare: In order to boost the voluntary sector, the Government of India, in 1979, introduced a scheme of giving ‘National Award for Child welfare’ to deserving institutions and individuals for their outstanding performance in the field of child development and welfare, this scheme was started, with a view to give recognition to such voluntary action.
National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievements: The National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement was introduced in 1996 and is presented by the Department of Women & Child Development, government of India to children between ages 4 to 15 with exceptional capabilities. The awards are generally presented on 14 November, Children’s Day, usually by the President of India in Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award for Service To Children: To boost voluntary action, the Government of India has been instituted an Award to honour individuals who makes outstanding contribution towards service for children. Balika Samriddhi Yojana (BSY): The Balika Samriddhi Yojana introduced in 1997 is an important initiative of the government to raise the status of the girl child. The aim of scheme is changing the negative attitude of families and communities towards the girl child, to increase enrolment and retention of girls in schools, to raise the marriage age of girls and to create income opportunities and activities. A series of incentives are incorporated into the Yojana, such as a gift of Rs. 500/- to the mother on delivery of a baby girl and the condition of an annual scholarship for the girl child education. In 1999-2000 the scheme was modified to benefit the girl child. Hence now the girl child can receive: A post birth grant amount of Rs. 500/- She will be eligible for annual scholarships for education according to class.
Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY):
The Kishori Yojana, financed by Government of India is being conducted in 70 Child Development projects of the State. Kishori Shakti Yojana under the domain of ICDS has an objective to empower adolescent girls and their holistic development by improving their self-perception and creating opportunities for realizing their full potential through Balika Mandals. The scheme principally aims at breaking the intergenerational life cycle of nutritional & gender disadvantage and providing a supportive environment for self-development.
Major objective are as under:
- To provide the required literacy and numeric skills through the non-formal stream of education.
- To stimulate a desire for more social exposure and knowledge and to help them improve their decision making capabilities.
- To improve the nutritional, health and development status of adolescent girls, promote awareness on health, hygiene, nutrition and family care.
- To link them to opportunities for learning life skills, to train and equip the adolescent girls to improve/upgrade home based and vocational skills.
- To help them gain a better understanding of their social environment and take initiatives to become productive members of the society.
Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (NPAG)
The Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls was launched in 2002-03 to fulfil nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Under this scheme, 6 kg of food-grains were given to under nourished adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers according to their weight. It was primarily started as a pilot project in 51 districts of the country and was taken up again in 2003-04. It was stopped for a year in 2004-05 but taken on as a full project, in 2005-06, to be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The scheme was started in 51 backward districts and was restricted to only undernourished adolescent girls. The scheme continues on a pilot project basis. The funding is done by the central government to the state government in the form of 100% grants. The food is meant to be provided through the public distribution system for no cost to the families identified in this scheme. The scheme targets girl children between the ages of 11 -19 who are less than 35 kgs.
Early Childhood Education for 3-6 Age Group Children Under the Programme of Universaliation of Elementary Education: That Early Childhood Education has immense importance for overall growth of the child. The main objectives of educational development according to sixth Five Year Plan 1980-85, is “to ensure essential minimum education to all children up to the age of 14 years within the next 10 years. The main tasks during the Sixth Plan for Elementary Education are as under.
- To achieve additional enrolment of 180 lakhs of children in classes I-VIII.
- To ensure drastic reduction in the drop-out rates.
Scheme for welfare of Working Children in need of Care and Protection:
The intent of the Scheme for Working Children in Need of Care and Protection is to offer working children with essential educational services such as non-formal education, and vocational training. The training must aim at entering or re-entering children in the mainstream formal education system in cases where they have never attended school and where children have discontinued school. The programme aims at averting and stopping the exploitation of working children and safeguarding their right to education.
Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
The aim of CARA is to guarantee that every orphan, destitute and surrendered child has an affectionate and caring family. It currently comes under the purview of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. CARA was formed in 1990 under the Ministry of Welfare. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment conferred onto CARA the responsibility of upholding the Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption of 1993. It became an autonomous body in 1999 by registering it under the Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. After the passing of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and its amendment in 2006, CARA was transferred to the MWCD. In India a child can be placed with a family under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for the Children of Working Mothers
This scheme is developed for the need of working women. It has been recognized that with growing employment opportunities for women and the rising need to supplement household income, more and more women are entering in the job market. Creche and Day Care Services are required by working mothers as well as women belonging to poor families, who require support and relief for childcare as they struggle to cope with burden of activities, within and outside the home. The Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme was refurbished in 2006. The present scheme will provide assistance to NGOs for running crèches for infants (0-6 years) and would provide assistance to ensure sleeping facilities, healthcare, supplementary nutrition, immunisation, etc. for running a creche for 25 infants for eight hours.
Major Schemes for Aged Population
1. National social Assistance program Scheme: The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) which came into effect from 15th August, 1995 represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles in Article 41 and 42 of the Constitution. It presents a National Policy for Social Assistance benefit to poor households in the case of old age, death of primary bread-winner and maternity. This programme is being implemented in rural areas as well as urban areas. NSAP signifies a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India which command upon the State to undertake within its means a number of welfare measures.
The Programme has three components, namely The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Government of India that offers financial support to the old people, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pension.
2. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS): This scheme is 100% funded by the Central Government. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) is a component of National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). Under National Family Benefit Scheme, Central Assistance is given in the form of lump sum family benefit for households below the poverty line on the death of the primary breadwinner in the bereaved family. The amount of benefit is Rs.10000/- in case of death of primary breadwinner due to natural or accidental causes. The family benefit is paid to such surviving member of the household of the deceased who, after local inquiry is determined to be the head of the household. There is some eligibility criteria. The assistance is available on fulfilling the following conditions:
- The primary breadwinner shall be a member whose earnings contribute substantially to the household income.
- The death of such primary breadwinner occurs while he or she is more than 18 years and less than 65 years of age.
- The bereaved family qualifies as one below the poverty line according to the criteria prescribed by the Govt. of India.
3. National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS)
The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) was announced in 2001 to deliver nutrition support to pregnant women. Under this scheme, pregnant women living below the poverty line are given a one-time payment of Rs. 500, 8–12 weeks prior to delivery. In the year 2005, the government of India launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to provide cash incentives for women choosing to have institutional deliveries. NMBS was merged into Janani Suraksha Yojana in the same year; however, with Supreme Court’s intervention, the benefits under the NMBS were retained, irrespective of the place of delivery (International Labour Office, 1999).
Guidelines for National Old Age Pension Scheme
- The age of the applicant (male or female) shall be 65 years or higher.
- The amount of the old age pension will be Rs. 75/- per month for purpose of claiming Central.
- The applicant must be a destitute in the sense of having little or no regular means of subsitence from his/her own sources of income or through financial support from family members or other sources. In order to determine destitution, the criteria, if any currently in force in the state/UT govt. may also be followed. The Govt. of India reserve the right to review these criteria and suggest appropriate revised criteria.
- The ceiling on the total number of old age pension for purpose of claiming Central assistance is specified by Govt. of India.
- Village, Panchayat and relevant authorities shall report for every case of death of pensioners immediately after its occurrence to the appropriate sanctioning authority.
Other Senior Citizens Pensions
The National Policy on Older Persons was declared by the Government of India in the year 1999. It was a step in the right direction in enactment of the UN General Assembly Resolution 47/5 to observe 1999 as International Year of Older Persons and in keeping with the assurances to older persons contained in the Constitution. The welfare of senior citizens is mandated in the Constitution of India under Article 41. “The state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to public assistance in cases of old age”. The Right to Equality is guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental right. Social security is the concurrent responsibility of the central and state governments. The policy and plans were put in place by central and state governments for the welfare of older persons. The state governments issued their policies and programmes for the welfare of older persons.
These Schemes were partially modified in 1998 based on the suggestions received from various corners and also on the basis of the feedback received from the State Governments.
Vulnerability Due To Migration: Migrants and their disavowal of rights have to be understood from the existing contradictions within and across nations from skilled and voluntary migrants at one end of the gamut to the poor and unskilled migrant population on the other end intended to be excluded from the fabric of the host nation/areas. For the latter, the intersection of human rights and migration is a negative one, with bad experiences throughout the migratory ‘life cycle’, in areas of origin, journey or transit and destination. The connection of health and human rights becomes even more complex when irregular or illegal migration clashes with the interest of the area of destination. India has huge number of international migrants. Adjacent countries are the main sources of origin of the international migrants to India with the bulk of these migrants coming from Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan and Nepal. But these are migrants who have entered the country lawfully. There are many who enter the country illegally. Those are the one who are most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by employers, migration agents, corrupt bureaucrats and criminal cliques. In many situations, migrants do not know what rights they are entitled to and still less how to claim them, hence the cases of abuse go unrecorded. Another area where exploitation is widespread is forced labour which takes place in the illicit underground economy and hence tends to escape national statistics. Illegal migrants often live on the margins of society, trying to avoid contact with authorities and have little or no legal access to prevention and healthcare services. They face higher risks of exposure to dangerous working conditions. Internal migration of poor labourers has also been on the rise in India. This population is at high risk for diseases and faces reduced access to health services.
Among the migrants who are vulnerable, the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) deserve mention. Internal displacement arises out of ethnic conflicts, religious conflicts, political reasons, development projects, natural disaster etc. The Internally Displaced People are vulnerable to health risks and access to treatment. The emotional stress of displacement and the toll that this takes does have a great impact on physical as well as mental health. Many mental health problems are reported among Internally Displaced People. Stress disorder leads to cardio-vascular stress, psycho-trauma, endocrine stress, musculo-skeletal stress, stress-belly (ulcers etc) and cranial stress (tension headaches and migraines). Migrants suffer greater vulnerability due to reduced economic choices and lack of social support in the new area of destination. Women and children in an asymmetrical situation are doubly vulnerable owing to their lack of proper legal status and high risk of sexual exploitation and suffer from poor antenatal care coverage, prevalence of anemia, prevalence of reproductive tract infections experience high incidences of violence.
To summarize, in the Constitution of India, the three supports of human rights are the right to equality including the prohibition of discrimination in any form, the six vital freedoms of citizens (including the right to speech and expression) and the right to life guaranteed to all persons. These rights have been documented to be unchallengeable, unalterable and part of the basic structure of the Constitution which cannot be abrogated. India’s Supreme Court has understood the right to life as including the right to live with self-respect, right to health, education, human environment, speedy trial and privacy. The focus of governmental activity has to increase the delivery of services through grass-roots local self-governance institutions, particularly in rural areas. India has taken good initiative for the empowerment of women by reserving one-third of all seats for women in urban and local self-government, bringing over one million women at the grassroots level into political decision making. India has assured human rights to all people in India including the defence of minorities.
India has protected their right to practice and preserve their religious and cultural beliefs as a part of the Chapter on Fundamental Rights. Jurisdictive and executive measures have been taken for the effective implementation of protections provided under the Constitution for the protection of the interests of vulnerable sections. India’s constitution is taking care of the need to empower the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and is fully dedicated to resolve issues of any discrimination against them at every level. The Constitution of India eradicated “untouchability” and prohibits its practice in any form. There are also explicit and elaborate legal and administrative provisions to address caste-based discrimination in the nation. India specified that at independence, after the departure of the colonizers, all the people, including its tribal people, were considered as native to India. This position has been elucidated on various occasions, including while extending India’s support to the acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.