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Scheduled Caste Sub Plan
 
Introduction:
 
Scheduled Castes Sub Plan was evolved with a view to expedite socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes. The Scheduled Castes Sub Plan is not a scheme by itself, but it is an umbrella under which schemes implemented by State and Central Government are dovetailed by apportioning funds exclusively for Scheduled Castes for addressing their needs and problems. The Scheduled Castes Sub Plan is, thus, a plan within a plan, where each Department formulates need-based programmes to effect direct flow of benefits to Scheduled Castes through family and individual oriented programmes as well as benefits of the services like provision of drinking water, health services, irrigation, roads & bridges etc., by earmarking State Plan Outlays atleast in proportion to Scheduled Castes population of the State..
 
The Gujarat Scene
 
Gujarat has a comparatively small population of SCs. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the SCs in Gujarat is 35.93 lakhs, which comes to 7.09% of the total population of the State of 5.07 Crores. The SCs in Gujarat are dispersed in all the districts of the State unlike the Scheduled Tribes the bulk of whom live in eight districts in the eastern part of the State. Out of the 18,275 villages in the State, as many as 12,808 villages have Scheduled Castes population. There are 2,361 villages and towns which have SC population of 250 and above. These villages and towns contain about 50 percent of the total SC population of the State. In many villages there are more than one Scheduled Castes localities. Though the SC population is found in all the districts of the State, the larger concentration of them in Ahmedabad, Banaskantha, Junagadh, Mehsana and Vadodara districts. This state-wide dispersal of the SCs makes it impossible to adopt an area based development approach for their economic advancement as has been possible in the case of the Scheduled Tribes. The Special Component Plan therefore, contains larger element of family oriented schemes. The scope for infrastructural schemes would be confined to micro-level locality oriented programmes for providing minimum needs of the SC localities.
 
In the field of education, there has been a significant improvement in the condition of the SCs during the last two decades. According to the 1961 Census, the literacy rate among the Scheduled Castes was 22.46% against the rate of 30.45% for the general population. By 2001, the literacy rate among the SCs went up to 70.50%,which is slightly higher than the general literacy rate of the State which is 69.14%.. The SC female literacy rate of 57.58% is at par with the general literacy rate of 57.80. There has been remarkable increase in male literacy rate which is 82.56% and higher than the general literacy rate of 79.66..
 
Coming to the occupational break-up of the SC population, it is noticed that out of the 7.66 lakhs members of SCs classified as "workers" in the 1981 Census,3.15 lakhs are 'agricultural labourers' and 1.22 lakhs 'cultivators'. About 0.40 lakhs are engaged in the household manufacturing and processing industries. 2.88 lakhs are listed as "other workers" which includes the traditional occupations like weaving and leather and leather-goods manufacture. 23% of the SC workers are women. In the manufacturing and processing industries only 5% of the workers are from the SCs.
 
Even among the SCs, there are wide socio-economic disparities between different Castes - Valmiki, Hadi, Nadia Garo(Garoda), Turi, Harijan Bawa, Vankar Sadhu and 9 Senva communities being the most backward among them. These vulnerable communities, whose population is approximately 3.50 lakhs, are therefore singled out for special treatment and exclusive schemes have been formulated for their benefit.
 
Administrative Machinery
 
In Gujarat, the Social Justice & Empowerment Department is the nodal department in charge of the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan . While the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan schemes are to be prepared and implemented by the respective departments as a part of their Five Year and Annual Plan schemes, the Social Justice & Empowerment Department is required to oversee both the formulation and implementation of the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan. In order to ensure proper implementation of the Special Component Plan Schemes, the following arrangements have been made by the State Government:
 
  1. A High Powered Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Minister for annual review of the implementation of the Special Component Plan at the State Level.
  2. The regional meeting of Collectors/District Development Officers is being held under the Chairmanship of the Hon'ble Minister, Social Justice & Empowerment to review the annual performance of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan at the District level.
  3. A District Implementation Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of the District Collector to review the implementation of the Special Component Plan by different departments quarterly.
  4. In each district, a Class I officer called the District Backward Class Welfare Officer assisted by adequate staff, is appointed to monitor and look after the effective the implementation of the Special Component Plan at the grass root level
  5. From the year 1983-84, the budgetary provisions under the various schemes of the Special Component Plan have been consolidated under a separate and single demand of the Social Justice & Empowerment Department. This has been done to ensure proper and full utilisation of the outlays provided. It also enables the Social Justice & Empowerment Department to make inter-sectoral reappropriation depending upon the requirements and actual expenditure of various departments.
  6. The Gujarat Scheduled Castes Economic Development Corporation( Now Gujarat Scheduled Castes Development Corporation) has been set up (in 1979) with a view to ensuring proper implementation of the beneficiary oriented income generating schemes. In order to give the Corporation a statutory form, an Act was passed by the Gujarat Legislative Assembly in 1985 and the said Corporation is converted into a Statutory body. An independent Corporation called 'the Gujarat Safai Kamdar Development Corporation Ltd.' has been set up for intensifying on the rehabilitation of Safai Kamdars. An advisory Board called "Bechar Swami" has been constituted to give thrust to the development of primitive communities.
  7. The State Government has undertaken beneficiary oriented income generating schemes on a large scale for the economic development of Scheduled Castes. Special Central Assistance given by the Government of India is also being utilised for this purpose.
  8. A detailed socio-economic survey of 2361 villages and towns having a SC population of 250 and above has been undertaken to identify the economic needs of each family and the infrastructural requirements of the Dalit Localities. About 50% of the total SC population is covered by this survey. A survey of the 10 remaining villages, where the SC population is less than 250 has also been undertaken so that need based schemes can be prepared by various departments.
  9. A village to village survey was carried out in 1985 in SC Localities. The purpose of the survey was to assess the existing basic amenities available in the SC localities and to find out gaps between the actual and the minimum requirements of the localities. Localities wise information has been compiled and village-wise data was conveyed to the concerned implementing officers. The thrust during the Tenth Plan Period is to ensure that the minimum infrastructural facilities are provided in all the SC Localities. This has resulted in satisfactory achievements.
  10. A Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri R. Balakrishnan, the then Finance Secretary (Economic Affairs), Government of Gujarat was set up to suggest measures for effective implementation of the Special Component Plan. The Committee's report was accepted by the Government. The Committee's report has helped positively to create awareness amongst the Implementing Officers.
 
The objectives, approach and strategy:
 
In this context, the following two specified objectives have been included in the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan.
 
  1. To ensure minimum desirable levels of income.
  2. To provide the basic minimum needs to the SC population in the villages. The SCs, who constitute about 7.09 % of the state population are at various stages of Socio-economic progress and face number of problems on account of isolation. One of the major role of development is to reduce the degree of poverty amongst the SC families.
 
Localities-oriented Programme
 
The ancient social stigma of untouchability towards SCs had forced them to live in separate hamlets, known as Dalit localities situated outside but adjoining the village. Most of these localities lack basic amenities like drinking water, street lighting, drainage, link roads, primary health care and schools etc.. Therefore, a systematic effort to provide these facilities in these localities have been started during the Seventh Plan period and are continued in the subsequent Five Year Plans.
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