Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment–Year End Review 2012

The Ministry 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:

(i) scheduled Castes,

(ii) Other Backward Classes,

(iii) Senior Citizens

(iv) Victims of Substance Abuse.

Enhancement in Plan Outlay of the Ministry

There was an unprecedented increase of 136.60% in the plan outlay of the Ministry from Rs.2500 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 5915 crore in 2012-13 which includes the Budget Estimate of Department of Disability of Affairs. The plan Outlay allocated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for 12th Five Year Plan has been enhanced to Rs 32684 crore from Rs 13043 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan.

Scheduled Castes Development

Revisions in the Scheme of Post Matric Scholarship to the Scheduled Castes Students

As on date, twenty three States/UTs have confirmed the implementation of the revised scheme,  which was revised by the Government with effect from 1st July, 2010, with the following modifications:-

Introduction of a New Scheme “Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme for SC students”

        In pursuance to the announcement made by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech for 2011-12  to introduce a scholarship scheme for needy students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes studying in classes IX and X,  the Scheme of Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme for SC  students has been introduced with effect from 01.07.2012.The objective of the scheme is to support parents of SC children for education of their wards studying in classes IX and X so that the incidence of drop-out, especially in the transition from the elementary to the secondary stage is minimized. For being eligible under this Scheme, the student should belong to Scheduled Caste and her/ his Parent/Guardian’s income should not exceed Rs. 2 lakh per annum.  

The Scheme has been communicated to all the State Governments/UTs vide Ministry’s letter dated 15.06.2012  with the request to give  wide publicity to the provisions of the new Pre-Matric Scheme and take suitable steps to implement the Scheme with effect from 01.07.2012.

Central Sector Scholarship Scheme of Top Class Education for Scheduled Caste Students: Inclusion of New Institutions and enhancement in the parental annual income ceiling

           Under the Scheme, SC students who secure the admission in the notified institutions are provided full financial support to meet the requirements of Tuition fees, living expenses, books and computer.  Maximum number of slots for new scholarship each year is 1250. Scholarships are granted for Engineering, Medicine, Law, Management and other specialized courses. Notified Institutions include Indian Institutes of Management ((IIMs), Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology (NITs), Commercial Pilot training Institutions and reputed medical/law and other institutions of excellence.

   During the year 2011-12, 24 new institutions, which include 10 NITs, 3 IIMs, 2 Schools of Planning & Architecture, 5 National Law universities, and 4 other premier Institutions, under various Central Ministries were added under the Scheme.  With this addition, total number of notified institutions   under the scheme has increased from 181 to 205. A decision was taken in March 2012 to enhance the ceiling on the students’ annual family income for eligibility for this scheme from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.4.5 lakh for the academic year, 2012-13.

Elimination of Manual Scavenging

New law for prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their rehabilitation

In pursuance of the National Advisory Council’s resolution of 23.10.10 and its recommendations dated 25.5.2011, regarding eradication of manual scavenging,  the Cabinet, in its meeting held on 23.8.2012, approved the introduction of a new Bill, namely,  “The Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012”, in Parliament.  The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha, which has been referred by the House to the Standing  Committee of the Parliament.

Brief on Survey of Manual Scavengers and their Dependents

                In pursuance to the Registrar General of India’s House listing and Housing Census 2011, which, inter alia, reported the existence of 26.06 lakh insanitary latrines (12.76 lakh in rural and 13.30 lakh in urban areas), the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, with the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as its co-Chairman. The Committee in its report dated 19.6.2012, recommended that since a survey of the manual scavengers in the rural areas of the country is already being undertaken as a part of the Socio-Economic Castes Census (SECC), the survey of manual scavengers may be undertaken in the statutory towns only. The scope of the survey would be limited to the 3546 statutory cities/towns (out of a total of 4041) where the Census 2011 has pointed out the existence of insanitary latrines. The Committee also recommended that before conducting the full survey in all the statutory towns, a pilot survey may be undertaken in selected areas.

Related Topics  Swachh Swasth Sarvatra

        Accordingly, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee, the Ministry has taken action for conducting a pilot survey in one district each of five States/UT viz., Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, NCT of Delhi and West Bengal. An orientation meeting was organized on 16.10.2012, at New Delhi with the Pr. Secretaries/Secretaries of the concerned States and the District Collectors of the concerned districts to make them aware about the process of the pilot survey and to sensitize them about the importance of doing it in a time bound manner.  Thus the process of pilot survey has started on 16.10.2012. 

The D/o SJ&E also organized a meeting on 18.10.2012 to discuss the modalities for development of an application software and database for the survey, with the Director General NIC, representative of Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Ministries of Rural Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, as they have the requisite experience regarding the application software and the databases being used in the Socio-Economic Caste Census.  The DG NIC has been requested to, inter alia,  have the necessary software developed for the survey, besides providing other related support. The matter is under progress.   

Revision of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 (PoA Rules) have been revised. The most significant component of these revisions related to enhancing the minimum scale of relief for victims of atrocity. The existing rates (between Rs. 20,000/- to Rs. 2,50,000/-) of relief to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents have been increased by 150% to between Rs. 50,000/- to Rs. 5,00,000/-. These have also been circulated to the states/UTs, with a request to implement the same.

             Enhancing the Authorized equity share of the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC)

The authorized share capital of NSKFDC has been enhanced from Rs.300.00 crore to Rs. 600.00 crore by the Government in January, 2012. These would enable the Corporation to cover additional number of SafaiKaramcharis under its Schemes for enabling them to undertake income generating activities etc.

Backward Classes Development

          During the calendar year, 2012, 8.98 lakh post-matric and 14.62 lakh pre-matric students belonging to OBCs have been given scholarships under Post matric and Pre-matric Scholarship Schemes of the Ministry respectively. 

          Around 1.4 lakh persons belonging to OBCs were given concessional loans under various schemes of the National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) during the period from 1st January, 2012 to 30th November, 2012, as per the details given below: 

        Marketing support was provided to Artisans belonging to OBC Categories by the Ministry by organizing various exhibitions and fairs for their products:

Social Defence

National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)

        In pursuance to the National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) 1999, the National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) was last reconstituted on 1.8.2005 for a tenure of five years. With a view to have a more definite structure, the Council was reconstituted and renamed as National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSrC) vide a Resolution dated 17.02.2012 to this effect which was published in the Gazette of India on 22.02.2012.

International Day for Older Persons (IDOP) celebrated on 1.102012

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observed the International Day of Older Persons on 1st October 2012 on the Theme “Security for Senior Citizens”. The Ministry in collaboration with HelpAge India, organized an Inter-generational Walkathon at the India Gate Lawns, Rajpath, New Delhi on the morning of 1st October, 2012. A function was organized at the Vigyan Bhavan wherein Vayoshresha the Sammans were conferred on eminent Senior Citizens and Institutions in recognition for their contribution towards the cause of the elderly. The Ministry also sponsored Help Age India in organizing an Inter generational Walkathon  in 9 State Capitals, namely,  Chandigarh, Shimla, Jaipur, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar,  Bhopal, Chennai, Mumbai and  Ahmedabad and one important city Kochi  on 1st October 2012. 

Related Topics  Historical background of Rural Development in India

National Conference on Ageing held on 6th and 7th November, 2012

                    The first ever National Conference on Ageing was held in New Delhi on 6th and 7th November, 2012 with an objective to (a) sensitize all stakeholders on ageing issues, and (b) review the various interventions of Central Government, State Governments/ UT Administrations, NGOs and the Civil Society. The focus of the Conference was on best practices and to prepare a Plan of Action for more effective implementation of various programmes for the welfare of senior citizens.

          Representatives from the concerned Central Government Ministries/ Departments; concerned departments of all State Governments and Union Territories, Human Rights Commissions, Planning Boards International Organizations like WHO, UNFPA, FAO, ILO, World Bank, ISSO, NGOs, reputed Academic Institutions, Senior Citizens Associations, Experts and Activists working in the field of senior citizens, etc. participated in the Conference.

Drug Abuse Prevention

Awareness Generation Programme about the ill-effects of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse

        The Ministry, in collaboration with the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) started an awareness generation programme in 3000 villages of 10 Districts in the State of Punjab and 750 villages of 7 Districts in the State of Manipur. NYKS through its network of volunteers at the village level created awareness about the ill-effects of alcoholism and substances (drug) abuse among the rural masses, identified the addicts and organized de-addiction camps for these addicts.

        The Ministry has also, in collaboration with the National Bal Bhavan, New Delhi, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, carried out  an awareness generation about the ill effects of drug abuse among the children in the age group of 12 to 16 years in the country through a series of activities like poster making, creative writing, lectures, rallies, nukkad natak, etc. at local, zonal and national level.

Advanced Pilot Survey on the extent, pattern and trends of drug abuse in the State of Maharashtra, Manipur and Punjab

        On the request of the Ministry, a Pilot Survey on the extent, pattern and trends of drug abuse has been carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in March-April 2010 in the cities of Amritsar, Imphal and Mumbai using the method of network sampling. The survey was conducted with the help of NGOs identified by the Ministry. The main objective of the pilot survey was to test the efficacy of the sampling design and survey instrument to be adopted for a national survey.

As the draft report of the pilot survey did not give a realistic picture of the prevalence of drug abuse, it was decided that on the basis of experience gained during the first pilot survey, an advanced pilot survey for 3 States viz. Punjab, Maharashtra and Manipur be conducted in which the left out groups like street children, homeless and educational institutions should form part of the sample to be surveyed. Accordingly, NSSO has been requested to carry out the survey.

Celebration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th June, 2012

        The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed on 26th June, 2012.  The main function for observance of this day was presided over by the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment. Shri Shri Ajay Maken, Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, attended the function as the Chief Guest.  Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment along with other officials and dignitaries also attended the function.                

On this Occasion, the message of the UN Secretary General was read by the Representative UNODC, Regional Office South Asia, Ms Cristina Albertin.  An Audio Visual Presentation by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) on awareness generation Project going on in the States of Punjab and Manipur was made.  An audio visual presentation was also made by the National Bal Bhawan on the awareness generation programme undertaken by them.  A cultural programme was presented by the artistes of the North Zone Culture Centre Chandigarh and the North East Zone Culture Centre Dimapur.  Prizes were distributed to the children of the National Bal Bhawan who were winners of the competitions organized as a part of the awareness generation.         

Related Topics  Computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System

Department of Disability Affairs

Creation of a new Department of Disability Affairs

A new Department of Disability Affairs has been set up vide Cabinet Secretariat’s notification dated 12.05.2012.   The Department has been allocated twenty five (25) subjects.  Creation of a new Department would ensure greater focus on policy matters to effectively address disability issues.  Having a separate budget would help in strengthening existing schemes, formulation of new schemes as also promotion of technological innovation in the sector.  It would further boost greater coordination among stakeholders, organizations, state governments and related central ministries.

New Draft Legislation on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

        The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PwD Act) has been in force for over 15 years.  In view of the need to review it and harmonize its provision with United Nations Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Ministry constituted an experts committee, which submitted its report to the Ministry on 30.06.2011.   The draft bill was uploaded on the Ministry’s website for comments.  The Ministry also initiated consultations with 17 Central Ministries and Departments on provisions of the draft Bill concerning them.  Based on the inputs received, a draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 has been  prepared and circulated in September, 2012 to all State Governments/Union Territories for their comments.  The Bill will be introduced in the Parliament, after due consultations with the State Governments and other Stakeholders.

Establishment of new District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) and Composite Regional Centres (CRCs)

District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres

To create infrastructure and capacity building at district level for providing rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities, awareness generation, training rehabilitation professionals etc, the Ministry provides assistance for setting up of District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) in un-served districts of the country.  Until March, 2010, 199 DDRCs have been sanctioned.

The Finance Minister had announced in his budget speech for 2010-11 that 100 new DDRCs would be opened during the remaining period of the XIth Five Year Plan.  Accordingly, 100 districts in 20 States were identified and the concerned State Governments requested in June 2010 to send proposals for setting up new DDRCs.   In the year 2010-11 & 2011-12, sanctions were issued for setting up of 33 new DDRCs.   During the current year 2012-13, sanctions have been issued for setting up of four new DDRCs namely (1)  Mehboobnagar (Andhra Pradesh) (2) Howrah (West Bengal) (3)  Bankura (West Bengal) & (4) Shivsagar (Assam).  

Composite Regional Centres

The scheme of setting up of Composite Regional Centres is a part of overall strategy to reach out to the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the country and to facilitate the creation of the required infrastructure and capacity building at Central, State and District levels and below for awareness generation, training of rehabilitation professionals, service delivery etc.  Centres are set up at locations where the existing infrastructure for providing comprehensive services to disabled were inadequate and where such centres are needed the most.

There were eight CRCs functioning at Sundernagar, Srinagar, Lucknow, Guwahati, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Kozhikode.  The new CRC at Kozhikode has been functional from February, 2012.

Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme for Students with Disabilities

        A new Central Sector Scheme of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities for persons with disabilities has been launched in November, 2012 to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education leading to degrees such as M.Phil and Ph.D.  The scheme caters to requirements of the students with disabilities for pursuing research degree in universities, research institutions and scientific institutions.  The scheme has been made effective from 01.04.2012.

The scheme caters total number of 200 Fellowships (Junior Research Fellows, JRF) per year to students with disabilities.  The scheme covers all universities/institutions recognized by University Grants Commission (UGC) and will be implemented by UGC itself.  The rates of fellowship for JRF and SRF will be at par with the UGC fellowship.

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Raja Raja Cholan
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