Welfare Schemes , Laws and Institutions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Welfare Schemes , Laws and Institutions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

This article deals with ‘Welfare Schemes , Laws and Institutions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.’ This is part of our series on ‘Governance’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Vulnerable Groups

Groups  that  experience  a  higher  risk  of  poverty  and  social  exclusion  than  the  general  population.  (European Commission)

Following groups can be identified as Vulnerable Groups in India

  1. Schedule Caste
  2. Schedule Tribe
  3. Religious Minorities
  4. Differently Abled Persons
  5. Old age people/ Senior Citizens
  6. Orphans and Street Children
  7. Women
  8. Sexual Minorities  

Reason why they are more vulnerable than other groups is because they lack

  1. Economic capital in the form of material assets and income
  2. Cultural capital such as educational qualifications and status
  3. Social capital in the form of networks of contacts and social associations.

Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe

Safeguarding Measures

1 . Constitutional Measures

1 . 1 Affirmative Action

Article 15(4) State can make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward class of citizens including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Article 16(4) Reservation in public services
Article 355 Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration in making  appointments to the public services

1 . 2 Protective Measures

Article 17 Abolition of Untouchability
Article 23 Forced labour is  prohibited
Article 25 State is empowered to throw open Hindu religious institutions  to all classes and sections of Hindus

1 .3 Political Measures

Article 330 Reservation of seats in Lok Sabha in proportion of their population
Article 332 Reservation in  Legislative Assembly
Article 243-D(1) Reservation in Panchayat
Article 243-T(1) Reservation in Municipality

1 . 4 Administrative rights 

Schedule 5 Provisions for Scheduled Areas (for more, Click here)
Schedule 6 Provisions for Tribal Areas (for more, Click here)
Article 338 National Commission for Scheduled Castes (for more, Click here)
Article 338-A National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (for more, Click here)

1 .5 Specifically for STs

Article 19(5) State can impose restriction on freedom of movement or residence in the benefit of Scheduled Tribes.
Article 164 Appoint special minister for tribal welfare in the states of MP, Bihar, and Orrisa.
Schedule 5 & 6 Discussed in Polity

2. Legal Measures

2.1 Legal measures for Scheduled Castes

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCRA), 1955 :  deals with untouchability
  • SCs and STs (Prevention of the Atrocities) Act, 1989 :
    • Prevents commission of atrocities against SC/ST by person other than SCs & STs
    • It leads to establishment of special courts for speedy trial of such offence
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013

2.2 Legal measures for Scheduled Tribes

  • SCs and STs (Prevention of the Atrocities) Act, 1989 :
  • Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
  • Forest Rights Act, 2006

Constitutional Measure Analysis : Affirmative Action /Reservation

Reservation  in Indian law is quota based affirmative action . 

We have already dealt with Reservation and it’s indepth analysis in another chapter. For reading it, Click here.

Act Analysis : SCs and STs (Prevention of the Atrocities) Act, 1989

MEANING OF THE ATROCITIES UNDER THE ACT

  • The term atrocity has not been defined in law (but list of atrocities is given).

Applicable to

  • Act is applicable in connection with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who are subjected to violence and brutalities by any person who is not a member of a Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

TYPES OF ATROCITIES MENTIONED IN ACT

Atrocities under the act include (but are not limited to):

  1. Social discrimination
  2. Beating, lashing and other forms of torture
  3. Arson-the burning of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities and their homes
  4. Violence against women
  5. Bonded labour
  6. Denial of rights, especially land rights
  7. Deny to give job or do business with person belonging to SC/ST
  8. Police abuses against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and custodial abuse

Imprisonment

  • Person will be put behind the bars at the same instant when FIR is lodged against person
  • No provision of Anticipatory Bail. Bail can only be granted by High Court.
  • Imprisonment ranging for 6 months to life imprisonment

Regarding Government Servant

  • If any government Servant indulge in such activity, there is provision of imprisonment of 6months to 1 year
  • Case can be registered against Government Servant only when he is found guilty in Investigation .

Other Provisions

  • Special Courts to deal with these cases
  • To fight the case, SC/ST is provided with financial aid and lawyer

Working of Act

  • There are only 194 Special courts => only 1 out of 3 district has special court
  • Conviction rate is very low

2018 Judgement on SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act

Supreme Court’s Judgement-  SC/ST Atrocities Act 1989 is being misused (NCRB data, conviction rate is 15% ) — and checks are needed to prevent such misuse . To check the misuse, Supreme Court placed two checks

  • No FIR should be filed under the SC/ST Atrocities Act till it is investigated by a DSP-level officer
  • No FIR should be registered against government servant under SC /ST Atrocities Act  without the approval of the appointing authority.
  • Anticipatory bail can be given on the orders of Magistrate

August 2018 : Lok Sabha has passed amendment in the Act to nullify the Judgement.

Act Analysis : Forest Rights Act,2006

  • Schedule Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act came into force in 2006.
  • It has been enacted to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation of forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been residing in such forests for generations, but whose rights could not be recorded. 

It guarantees following rights

  1. Title Rights : the right in the land is granted to STs and the people who are residing there for 75 years but don’t have documents (maximum 4 hectare)
  2. Right of use of resources. Eg : Minor Forest Produce (honey, herbs etc) , Common Property Resource etc
  3. Relief and Developmental Rights : in case of any displacement of tribals , proper relief packages should be given
  4. Forest Management Rights 

Issues wrt Forest Right Act

  1. Task of documenting the claims of communities is very tedious
  2. Reluctance on the part of bureaucracy
  3. Narrow interpretation of the law
  4. Opposition from wildlife conservationists
  5. Forest Rights Act is often in conflict with other laws e.g. Rights in protected areas like wildlife sanctuaries, national parks etc.

Way forward

  • Political will should be there
  • Devolution of fund, functions and functionaries
  • Awareness among the tribals about their rights

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)

  • 1973 : Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups. 
  •  2006 : Government of India renamed it to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • At present, they are 75 in number.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

PVTGs have some basic characteristics

  • Small population.
  • Relatively physically isolated.
  • Absence of written language
  • Subsistence => hunting or gathering.
  • Zero or negative population growth.
  • Extremely low level of literacy.

Problems faced by them

  • Growth of PVTGs’ population is either stagnating or declining
  • Health status of PVTGs is in an awful condition because of  poverty, illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitary conditions etc
  • Condition of education is also very poor, with an average literacy rate of 10% to 44% in PVTGs.

Scheme: Scheme for Development of PVTGs

  • It identifies 75 PVTGs as the most vulnerable among the Scheduled Tribes. 
  • It gives state governments flexibility in planning initiatives. 
  • Long term Conservation cum Development plan for five years for each PVTG to be established by States.
  • Scheme is funded entirely by Central government.

Schemes for upliftment of SCs and STs

1 . Umbrella Scheme for SCs

  • After rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored  Schemes, all the Schemes for Scheduled Castes are taken under one Grand scheme that is Umbrella Scheme for Scheduled Castes which is Core of the Core Scheme and is 100% Centrally Sponsored

Some of the Schemes under this are

Educational Empowerment 1. Pre-Matric Scholarships to SC Students  
2. Post Matric Scholarship   
3. Full financial support for pursuing studies beyond 12th class, in notified institutes of excellence like IITs, NITs,  IIMs, reputed Medical/Law and other institutions.
4. National Fellowship: Financial assistance to SC students for pursuing research studies     
5. National Overseas Scholarship:  for pursuing higher studies of Master level  and PhD programmes abroad.  
6. Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojna
Economic Empowerment 1. Standup India  
2. Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes

2. Stand Up India

  • Every bank branch will provide
    • loan from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore
    • to one Dalit or Adivasi member and one woman each
    • For greenfield enterprises in the non-farm sector without collateral.

3. Eklavya Schools

  • Budget 2018 : announced establishment of Eklavya Schools.
  • To be established in all Tribal blocks with more than 50% ST population
  • Ekalavya schools will provide boarding and lodging facilities to tribal students.
  • These schools will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.

Leave a Comment