March towards Social Justice and Empowerment

Dr Virendra Kumar

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, under the outstanding leadership of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is committed to uplift and empower marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society, such as SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Transgenders, Senior Citizens, Safai Karmcharis, etc. In the past nine years, significant progress is being seen of people of these sections in various areas including social, educational and economic empowerment. A few prominent schemes are implemented by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India, in the past nine years. 

The “Post-Matric Scholarships to the students belonging to Scheduled Castes for studies in India” aims to increase the gross enrollment ratio of SC students in higher education from the poorest households. The gross enrolment ratio of SC students studying in 11-12th was 52.9% during 2019-20; 56.1% during 2020-21 and 61.5% during 2021-22. Over 4.87 crore SC students have received Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 29828.80 crore since 2014–15. “Pre-Matric Scholarships Scheme for SC and Others” is for those SC students whose annual parental income does not exceed Rs. 2.5 lakh. Gross enrolment ratio of SC students studying in 9-10th was 83% during 2019-20; 84.8% during 2020-21 and 84.9% during 2021-22. Over 2.31 crore SC students have received Central assistance amounting to Rs. 3528.17 crore since 2014–15. Since 2014-15, Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 109.79 Cr released to over 19995 SC and OBC students under “Scholarship for Higher Education for Young Achievers Scheme (SHREYAS), Free Coaching for SC & OBC students (FCS)”  Since 2014-15, Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 399.15 Cr released to over 21988 SC students under “Top Class Scholarship scheme for SCs (TCS)” Since 2014-15, Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 222.24 Cr released to over 950 selected students from SC, Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic Tribes; landless agricultural labourers and traditional artisan categories under “National Overseas Scholarship Scheme for SC students (NOS)” Since 2014-15, Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 1628.89 Cr released to over 21066 students under “National Fellowship for SC students (NFSC)”.  Since 2014-15, Central Assistance amounting to Rs. 457.22 Cr released to over 3.18 Lakh students under “Scheme for Residential Education for SC Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA)”

Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM-AJAY) aims to generate additional employment opportunities through skill development, income-generating schemes, and other initiatives. PM-AJAY is a merged Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 03 erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes, namely, – (i) Adarsh Gram Component erstwhile scheme of Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana; 11500 more villages have been covered in 2022-23; 4351 villages have already been declared as Adarsh Gram (ii) Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCA to SCSP); the financial assistance is Rs.50,000 or 50% of the project cost whichever is less, per beneficiary or household (iii) Hostel Component {erstwhile scheme of Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana (BJRCY)}; total Projected Outlay for the scheme of PM-AJAY for 2023-24 is Rs.2050.00Cr.

“National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE)” aims to promote mechanization of cleaning operations to stop deaths of Sewers and septic tank workers and ensure safety of sanitation workers. Capital subsidy upto Rs. 5.00 lakh and interest subsidy is provided for projects financed by banks. As a part of “Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS)”, 22,294 manual scavengers and their dependents have been enrolled in various skill development training programs since 2014–15.  508 districts have declared themselves manual scavenging free.

“Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)” takes care of the senior citizens like shelter, financial security, food, health care, and human interaction or the life of dignity. Since 2014-15, Rs. 511.81 crore was disbursed to 6,67,330 Beneficiaries.  Rs. 43.13 crore have been released under “State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC)” scheme from 2019-20 to 2022-23.  Since 2017-18, a total of 12,24,645 devices amounting Rs. 24,649.98 lakhs were distributed to 2,99,942 beneficiaries in 265 Camps organized under RVY.

“Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (NMBA)” was formulated and launched on 15th August 2020, in 272 Districts across 32 State/Union Territories. Around 3.08+ crore youth, 4,000+ Yuva Mandals, NYKS & NSS Volunteers and Youth Clubs have participated in the activities of the Abhiyaan. 13+ lakh students have been reached in 6000+ schools across the country.

“Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH)” aims to provide high quality skills in finding jobs or self-employment ventures. The number of beneficiaries in Financial Year 2020-21 was approximately 32097 and during 2022-23, the number was approximately 35484.

Under the outstanding leadership of our Sensitive Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is continuously working over the past 9 years for the dignity, progress and all kinds of welfare schemes for the marginalized section of society and the Ministry has acquired prestigious achievements.

The author is Union Minister, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India