SC in India
The scheduled castes are the caste or race of the nation who are socially, economically and educationally backwards due to the age-old practices of untouchability and other factors like poor infrastructure, poverty and malnutrition. The constitution of India through principles of liberty justice equality and fraternity protect and safeguard the SC and ST in the nation.
The constitution of India through Article 14 consider every citizen equal before the law and Article 15 prohibit discrimination on any grounds especially caste. Through article 341 the definition for the scheduled caste is given and Article 16 (4) give provisions for reservations in public employment. Further, the educational and economic welfare rights are guaranteed through Article 29 and 30 and the Directive Principles of State Policy, through Article 46 asked the government to make special provision for the welfare of the scheduled caste.
Issues faced by Scheduled Caste.
The schedule caste and Scheduled tribes who account for 25% of the Indian population face a severe crisis of malnutrition and infant mortality. Illiteracy in this category leads to high unemployment. They have less access to health care. During the pandemic, India witnessed a migration crisis leading to a more increased rate of unemployment. The digital divide in this category also prohibit children from accessing quality education during the pandemic and this may lead to an increase in child labour. Also, the death of parents due to pandemic make children orphan and abandoned leading to illegal adoption and illegal trafficking.
The Indian government under the Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment enhance the wellbeing of the scheduled caste through educational economical and social empowerment.
Educational Empowerment: The government under the ministry provide scholarships for SC students. The pos-metric scholarship for sc students(PS-SC) is one of the largest educational scheme of the government with 100% assistance. Through National Fellowships, their higher educations like M.Phil and Phds are guaranteed. The Overseas Scholarship Programme also promote abroad education for SC students. The recent initiative of the government, The Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission, promotes entrepreneurship among the sc students.
Economic Empowerment. The National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation provide loans, skill training measures and assistance to the sc caste. The Venture Capital Fund and Credit Enhancement Guarantee scheme promote entrepreneurship development among the Scheduled Caste. The VCF has disseminated a fund of 200 crores from the year 2014.
Social Empowerment: The government guarantees the social rights of the Scheduled Caste through legislation like the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe ( Prevention of Atrocities) act, 1989 to ensure they are not discriminated against based on untouchability (Article 17) and prevent from exploitation. The prohibition of employment and rehabilitation of manual scavengers act protect the SCs from manual scavenging and rehabilitate them.
Through effective policies and programmatic interventions, the government ensures the wellbeing of the Scheduled Caste and help them in meeting their needs protecting the SCs of the nation.
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