- Scheduled Castes refer to certain castes/races in India that have been historically subject to extreme social, educational, and economic backwardness, as a result of practices such as untouchability.
- This term can also apply to communities that face disadvantages due to lack of infrastructure or geographical isolation.
- Due to their disadvantaged status, these communities require special consideration to safeguard their interests and promote their socio-economic development.
- The designation of Scheduled Castes is based on provisions outlined in Clause 1 of Article 341 of the Indian Constitution.
- Under this clause, the President of India, in consultation with the Governor, has the power to specify which castes, races, tribes, or groups within castes or races should be deemed as Scheduled Castes.
Problems faced by SCs in India
- Scheduled castes have been historically denied access to basic amenities such as drinking water, temples, public transport, and cemeteries.
- The human rights of scheduled castes are still being violated today by the majority and other sections of society. Examples of such violations include forced manual scavenging and bonded labor.
- Education is traditionally disallowed for scheduled castes, and they continue to face discrimination in educational institutions.
- Scheduled castes are still considered untouchables in some communities, and they may be denied entry into temples. This kind of discrimination is more prevalent in rural areas than urban areas.
Certain Initiatives taken by GOI for betterment of SCs in India
- The Government of India has implemented various initiatives to promote educational empowerment of Scheduled Castes (SCs). Some of these initiatives are:
- Post-Matric Scholarship: The Post-Matric Scholarship scheme provides financial assistance to students belonging to SCs to pursue higher education at the post-secondary stage. The scheme covers the cost of admission fees, tuition fees, and maintenance allowances.
- Pre-Matric Scholarship: The Pre-Matric Scholarship scheme provides financial assistance to students belonging to SCs to pursue education at the pre-matriculation level. The scheme covers the cost of admission fees, tuition fees, and maintenance allowances.
- National Fellowship for SC students: The National Fellowship for SC students is a merit-based fellowship scheme that provides financial assistance to SC students to pursue research in science, engineering, and technology, humanities and social sciences, and other fields.
- Free Coaching for SC and OBC Students: The Free Coaching for SC and OBC Students scheme provides free coaching to SC and OBC students to prepare for competitive examinations for admission to professional courses.
- Dr. Ambedkar Post-Matric Scholarship for Economically Backward Classes: This scholarship is provided to economically backward students belonging to SCs to pursue higher education in professional and technical courses.
- National Overseas Scholarship for SC students: The National Overseas Scholarship for SC students provides financial assistance to meritorious SC students to pursue higher education abroad.
- Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana: The Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana provides hostel accommodation to SC students studying at the post-secondary level in universities, colleges, and other institutions.
These initiatives have been instrumental in promoting educational empowerment of SCs in India.
- National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC): This corporation provides financial assistance for income-generating activities and skill development training to SC beneficiaries.
- Special Component Plan (SCP): SCP is a special provision under the Annual Plans of States and Union Territories for the socio-economic development of Scheduled Castes. The SCP is a part of the State Plan and provides for targeted schemes and programs for SCs.
- National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC): The NSKFDC provides concessional loans to the Safai Karamcharis and manual scavengers for income-generating activities, skill development, and education.
- Stand-Up India: The Stand-Up India scheme aims to promote entrepreneurship among SCs, STs, and women by providing them with loans between Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 1 crore for setting up greenfield enterprises.
- Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes (VCF-SC): The VCF-SC provides financial assistance to SC entrepreneurs for equity participation in their business ventures. The aim is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among SCs.
- MUDRA Yojana: MUDRA Yojana provides loans up to Rs. 10 lakhs to small businesses, including those owned by SC entrepreneurs. The loans are given under three categories, namely, Shishu, Kishor, and Tarun, depending on the stage of the business.
- Skill development initiatives: The Government has initiated several skill development programs for SC youth to enhance their employability. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is one such program that provides skill training to SC youth.
These initiatives are aimed at providing financial assistance, skill development, and promoting entrepreneurship among SCs, thereby enhancing their economic status and empowering them.
- The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955:
- Enacted in pursuance of Article 17 of the Constitution of India
- Provides punishment for the practice of untouchability
- Implemented by respective State Governments and Union Territory Administrations
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989:
- Provides assistance to States/UTs for implementation of the Act
- Financial assistance provided for relief to atrocity victims, incentive for inter-caste marriages, awareness generation, setting up of exclusive Special courts, etc.
1. What is the meaning of “Scheduled Caste” in Hindi?
“Scheduled Caste” in Hindi is commonly referred to as “अनुसूचित जाति” (Anusuchit Jati). This term is used to describe the historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities officially recognized by the Indian government under the Scheduled Caste category.
2. Where can I find the Scheduled Caste list in India?
The Scheduled Caste list in India is maintained by the government and is periodically updated. You can find the official list on the website of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. It includes the names of castes and communities eligible for SC status.
3. Who is the Chairman of the Scheduled Caste Commission in India?
The Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) in India changes over time as per appointments made by the government. The Chairman is typically a senior official or leader with a background in the empowerment and welfare of Scheduled Castes. To know the current Chairman, you can refer to the official website of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes or the government’s official notifications.
4. What is the meaning of “Scheduled Caste”?
Scheduled Caste refers to a group of historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities in India. These communities have been subjected to social discrimination and untouchability practices for centuries. To address their socio-economic and educational disparities, the Indian government has included them in the “Scheduled Castes” category, granting them special protections and affirmative action measures under the Constitution of India.
Scheduled Castes in India represent a diverse range of communities, and the government’s efforts are aimed at ensuring their social inclusion, upliftment, and overall well-being.
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