The new National Commission for Backward Classes will be constituted under Article 338B and will commence functioning as a constitutional authority, in the same manner as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes under article 338 and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes under Article 338A. This was stated by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment while interacting with media persons on the three year’s achievements of his ministry here today. The new Commission will exercise the function of hearing the complaints/grievances of socially and educationally backward classes. It will have the powers of a Civil Court for this purpose. It will have the duty of advising of the socio economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and evaluate the progress of their development, unlike the present Commission which does not have this role.The Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Ramdas Athawale, the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt. G. Latha Krishna Rao and the Principal Director General (M&C), Press Information Bureau, Shri A.P. Frank Noronha and senior officers of M/o SJ&E were also present.
He informed the media persons that the objective of Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes is to promote entrepreneurship amongst the Scheduled Caste and to provide concessional finance to them. The projects/units are promoted in manufacturing and services sector ensuring asset creation. The Scheme provides higher level of loans ranging from Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 15 crores. Till date loans amounting to Rs. 242.36 crores were sanctioned to 65 Scheduled Cast entrepreneurs and Rs. 118.99 crores has been disbursed.The Minister said that the Skill Training is under taken by the three corporations of the Ministry viz. National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporations (NSFDC), National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC). During the last three years i.e. from 2014-15 to 2016-17, 2.5 lakh beneficiaries have been trained under the skill development programme of the Corporations and the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan. Out of these beneficiaries, 48.42% have got wage/self-employment.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has released scholarships to 3.45 crore students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) providing direct benefit to the students. Amount released is Rs. 18000 crores in the last 3 years.He said that the five places relating to Dr. Ambedkar such as Janam Bhoomi, Mhow; Shiksha Bhoomi 10, King Henry Road, London; Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur; Chaitya Bhoomi, Mumbai; and Parinirvan Bhoomi, 26 Alipur Road, New Delhi were declared ‘Panchtirth’ by the Government of India. Besides this, the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had sponsored 100 students for study tour to Universities of Columbia and London School of Economics (UK) where Dr. Ambedkar studied.The Minister informed that the Government of India declared 26th November as Constitution Day. Various programmes by Ministries/Departments/ State Government’s were organised throughout the country and Indian Mission abroad. It has been decided to increase income limit from Rs. 1.00 Lakh to Rs. 2.50 Lakh on yearly basis to provide assistance to families under Dr. Ambedkar Medical Aid Scheme.
Under Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through inter-caste marriage, 126 Married couple benefitted during the last three years. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has enhanced Overseas Scholarship for boys and girls belonging to SC/ST community from 60 to 100 for pursuing higher studies aboard.He said that his Ministry has launched the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana for the welfare of Senior Citizens, which aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disabilities/infirmities viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and locomotor disabilities, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.The Minister said that the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has created 4 Guinness World Records, during the year 2016-17, as detailed in the list below: -
First record, created by Biggest Wheelchair Logo/Image by 1000 PwDs at Navsari, Gujrat;Second world record, created by fitting 1200 Hearing Aids to 600 persons within 8 hours at a single location at Navsari, Gujrat;Third world record, created in Gujrat by lighting most oil lamps simultaneously at a single venue by Divyangjans; and Fourth Guinness World Record was created when 3911 persons with hearing impairment were fitted with hearing aids in 8 hours in Manipur.The Minister informed that the financial assistance under Voluntary Organisations working for Welfare of SCs is released to NGOs/VOs to provide an environment for Socio-Economic up-liftment and overall development of Scheduled Castes (SCs). Also, the Ministry introduced the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) in January 2007, with the objective to rehabilitate the remaining manual scavengers and their dependents in alternatives occupations . He said that Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse aims at creating awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of alcoholism and substance abuse on the individual, the family, the workplace and society at large. There are 431 Drug-de-addiction centres functioning through NGOs, supported by the Ministry.