This is need of the hour that all the States and UTs should tackle the incidents of atrocities against Scheduled Castes but also ensure the perpetrators are brought to book expeditiously and the victims are appropriately compensated, this was stated by Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot in the meeting of Principal Secretaries of States/UTs of Social Justice Department.
Shri Gehlot emphasized that the Government has made amendments in the PoA Act making some of its provisions more stringent and also enhancing the quantum of relief amount to the victims. Recently we have also notified Amendments in the PoA Rules. “I would call upon the States and UTs to implement the Act in letter and spirit so that atrocities against the SCs are curbed” he urged. He said that States should expedite implementation of the provisions of amended PoA Act and work for awareness generation and sensitization of police and other officers about their provisions.
Expressing concern over the practice of manual scavenging, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot said this has to be eradicated from this country on a war footing. He urged the States to work towards eradication of this inhuman practice on priority basis.
Social Welfare Minister said that the Government of India has been implementing various Schemes for educational and economic and social empowerment of SCs, OBCs and Senior Citizens. These Schemes including the Scholarship Schemes have a wide coverage. He said to ensure effective delivery of the Schemes of the Centre and the States can join hands.
Emphasizing on the education and empowerment of youths of SCs and OBCs, the Minister said scholarships to SCs, OBCs and DNTs are one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry. The Government of India judiciously recognizes the financial burden entailed on parents/guardians belonging to Scheduled Castes and other Backward Classes, who desire that their children/Wards continue and complete their education so as to ensure their future jobs and realization of their aspired careers. For this purpose, several segments of scholarships viz. Pre & Post-matric Scholarship Schemes [including scholarship for overseas studies] for students belonging to Scheduled Castes and OBCs are provided accordingly. In order to ensure speed and transparency, the Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) mode has been launched by the Ministry. The Government of India is also launching the National Scholarship Portal. He requested the States to come on board this portal and to take up Aadhar seeding in right earnest so that delivery can be ensured to genuine beneficiary.
Referring Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY) (PMAGY), Shri Gehlot said that it is being implemented for integrated development of Scheduled Castes (SC) majority villages having SC Population concentration more than 50%. He requested states to make all efforts for effective implementation and fund utilization under this centrally sponsored scheme.
The Minister said that his implementing an Integrated Programme for Older Persons(IPO), there is need to play more pro-active role to ensure that the ageing population has a place of dignity and safety in the society.
Expressing concern over increasing menace of Drug and Alcohol Abuse he said this needs to be curbed by all means. The Center is implementing a scheme through RRTCs and Non-Governmental Organisations not only to create awareness among the people but also to rehabilitate those who are addicted to drug abuse and alcoholism so that this social menace contained. He called upon the States/UTs to play more active role and supplement our efforts with their own schemes to curb the menace. He said that Transgender, Beggars/Destitute are yet another groups who need greater attention, initiatives should be taken by for the welfare these groups.
During the conference Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot also released a report prepared by DNT commission about the issues related to Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes in the presence of Shri Biku Ramji Idate, Chairman of DNT Commission.