(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 2 - "Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Studies (Paper 2 - Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

India is a welfare state, committed to the development of its people in general and of vulnerable sections in particular. The Preamble, the Directive Principles of State Policy, the Fundamental Rights and specific sections, Articles 38, 39 and 46 in the Constitution of India, stand testimony to the commitment of the State to its people. Welfare programmes in the beginning were directed to provide a few basic curative and rehabilitative services. Over the years, a developmental orientation in contrast to curative and custodial approach has been given to welfare programmes. At present these are oriented towards providing social justice and empowerment to the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. viz., scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, disabled, aged persons, street children and victims of drug abuse, etc.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for the development and welfare of these disadvantaged, marginalized and weaker sections of our society. The Ministry is running several schemes and programmes which are beneficiary oriented and intend to ensure qualitative improvement in people’s lives.

These schemes are run largely on a pilot basis to show the way to the local governments and community and promote similar initiatives through them. The Ministry inter alia also plays a proactive role in sensitizing the opinion leaders, the change agents and the public about the plight of these sections, the irrational prejudices that work against them and the need to ameliorate their situation by bringing about attitudinal changes. Such attitudinal changes aim at facilitating appreciation and social support from communities to the persons of these disadvantaged sections, enhanced financial support by the local governments to the welfare programmes and promotion of voluntary action for the specialised facilities and service.


The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry that oversees the interests of the Scheduled Castes. Besides implementing several welfare and protective schemes on its own, this Ministry also closely monitors the action taken by other Ministries for protection and promotion of the interests of SCs.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been set up as a Constitutional body for overseeing interests of the SCs/STs. Subsequently, National Commission for Safai Karamacharis was set up for looking into matters relating to Safai Karamcharis. With a view to follow up the high ideals advocated by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Ambedkar Foundation have been set up for pursuing matters relating to interest of SCs and socially and economically backward classes.

The Central Government as also the State Governments/Union Territories have according to the exigencies of time, evolved and adopted several intervention mechanisms for the welfare of the SCs/STs. These measures have been introduced to secure their social, educational and economic development. To achieve their social integration and development and specifically to protest them from exploitation, the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 were enacted. These are deterrent instruments aiming at prevention of exploitation of the persons belonging to the SCs/STs in any form.

The concept of having a special Component Plan (SCP) was introduced in 1979 with a view to achieving overall development of SCs/STs and to raise them above the poverty line. Special Component Plan is designed to channelise the flow of outlays and benefits from the general sector in the plans of States/UTs and the Central Ministries. At least in proportion to the population of SCs/STs both in physical and financial terms. It is an umbrella programme under which all schemes implemented by State and Central Governments are dovetailed for addressing different needs of the Scheduled Castes, under the Central scheme introduced in 1979-80, Special Central Assistance (SCA) is to be extended to supplement efforts of States/UTs for ensuring rapid socio-economic development of Scheduled Castes. It is additive to the Special Component Plan (SCP) of States/UTs and is intended to augment the efforts of the States for the economic development of SCs. The underlined objective of the SCA which is a Central grant to the States/UTs is that it should be used to give an added thrust to the development programmes for SCs with reference to their occupational needs for increasing the productivity of and income from their limited assets by taking up family oriented schemes for them. It is used to fill the critical gaps and provide the Central Government a leverage in directing flow of funds in areas critical to the development needs of SCs.

The Centrally Sponsored Scheme for participating in the share equity of the Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs) in the radio of 49:51 was introduced in 1979. At present, SCDCs are functioning in 25 States and UTs which include 9 SCDCs which are common to SCs and STs.

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