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Describe the developmental programmes for the upliftment of scheduled castes.

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1. Appointment of a National Commission for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes: A National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been set up by the Central Government to safeguard the interests of the SCs and STs. It functions as an advisory body on issues and policies related to the development of the SCs and STs.

2. Educational Opportunities: Due attention is paid to extend the educational opportunities of SCs and STs and hence special provisions have been made in this regard. Free education, free distribution of books, stationery, uniform, etc. giving scholarships, educational loan facilities, providing mid-day meal, arranging for free boarding and lodging facilities, reserving seats for SCs and STs in all the government and government-aided g institutions, etc.

3. Expansion of Economic Opportunities: The government has taken up economic programmes also for the benefit of SCs and STs. Examples: Landless SC labourers are allotted land. Land reforms have been undertaken to bring benefits of land ownership for them. Poor SC farmers are supplied with seeds, agriculture implements, fertilizers, pesticides, interest-free loans, pair of bullocks for ploughing, subsidy for developing dairy farming, poultry farming, piggery, animal husbandry, handicrafts, spinning, and weaving.

4. Expansions of Employment Opportunities and Reservation: In order to enhance the economic position of the SCs and STs, the Constitution has provided for the reservation in services. Reservation exists in all these for the SCs and STs to the extent of 15% and 7.5% respectively.

5. Upliftment of Scheduled Castes through Five Year Plans: The welfare of the Scheduled Castes has been given special attention in the Five Year Plan. The Central Government sponsored a comprehensive three strategies for the development of the SCs during the 6th Five Year Plan [ 1980-85].

This consisted of three schemes:

a. Special Component Plan [SCPs] 

b. Special Central Assistance [SCA] 

c. Scheduled Development Corporation (SCDCs).

a. Special Component Plan [SCP]: The main objective of this plan is to assist the SC families to improve their income substantially. This plan envisages identification of schemes of development which would benefit SCs, quantification of funds from all programmes of specific targets as to the number of families to be benefited from these programmes.

b. Special Central Assistance [SCA]: The main purpose of this scheme is to provide additional assistance to the States from the Centre to help the economic advancement of the maximum possible number of Schedule Caste families living below the poverty line.

c. Scheduled Caste Development Corporation (SCDC): These SCDCs provide money and loan assistance to SC families and help them to increase the. flow of funds from financial institutions to SC families. These Corporations established in the States are expected to act as interface between the SC families and financial institutions including banks. Both the Central and the State Governments contribute grants to these SCDCs.

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