Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Relevant for sociology optional Paper- 2 & GS Mains Paper- 2

Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) has been one of the core objectives of the Indian government since independence. The term “Scheduled Castes” refers to the groups of people who were formerly considered “untouchables” and were subject to social and economic discrimination based on their caste. On the other hand, “Scheduled Tribes” are those groups of people who are indigenous to India and are recognized as such by the government. The Constitution of India provides for various measures to safeguard the rights and interests of SCs/STs and to promote their welfare.

The Constitution of India has made provisions for affirmative action to be taken by the government to uplift the status of SCs/STs. One such provision is the reservation system, which reserves a certain percentage of seats in educational institutions and government jobs for SCs/STs. This system has been controversial since its inception, with some arguing that it perpetuates caste-based discrimination while others argue that it is necessary to level the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups.

Apart from reservations, the government has also implemented various schemes and programmes for the welfare of SCs/STs. These include the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP), Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP), and the Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme. These schemes aim to provide financial assistance and resources for the development of SCs/STs in areas such as education, health, and employment.

The SCSP is a plan under which funds are earmarked for the welfare of SCs in proportion to their population. The TSP is a similar plan for the welfare of STs. Both these plans were initiated in the Fifth Five-Year Plan (1974-79) and were made mandatory in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992-97). The SCA to Tribal Sub-Scheme provides additional funds to states for the welfare of STs.

One of the major challenges in implementing these schemes has been the issue of leakage and diversion of funds. Many of the schemes have been criticized for their inefficiency and lack of accountability. The government has attempted to address this issue by introducing measures such as the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, which aims to transfer funds directly to beneficiaries’ bank accounts. However, the success of these measures is yet to be fully evaluated.

Apart from government schemes, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also played an important role in the welfare of SCs/STs. Many NGOs work in areas such as education, health, and community development. Some of the prominent NGOs working for the welfare of SCs/STs include the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, the Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, and the National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organizations.

Despite these efforts, the social and economic conditions of SCs/STs in India remain poor. They continue to face discrimination and marginalization in various aspects of their lives. The literacy rate among SCs/STs is significantly lower than that of the general population, and their representation in higher education and skilled jobs is also low. They are also more likely to live in poverty and have poor health outcomes.

One of the major challenges in addressing these issues is the persistence of caste-based discrimination and prejudice in Indian society. The caste system, although officially abolished, continues to influence social and economic relations in the country. Many people still adhere to caste-based beliefs and practices, which leads to discrimination against SCs/STs. Addressing this issue requires not just government action but also a change in societal attitudes and values.

In conclusion, the welfare of SCs/STs is a crucial issue for the Indian government and society as a whole. While various measures have been taken to address the challenges faced by SCs/STs, there is still a long way to go in achieving their full inclusion and empowerment in society. It is essential to continue working towards improving their social, economic, and educational conditions, while also addressing the root causes of caste-based discrimination and prejudice. Only by ensuring the full welfare and rights of all members of society, including SCs/STs, can India truly achieve its goal of being a democratic and equitable nation.

For more such free UPSC notes, Articles, News & Views Join our Telegram Channel. https://t.me/triumphias

Click the link below to see the details about the UPSC – Civils courses offered by Triumph IAS. https://triumphias.com/pages-all-courses.php

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *