The Government has undertaken a series of initiatives for social justice and empowerment. Ekatmakta, Samata and Samajik Samrasta are the guiding principles in this direction. This was stated by Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment while addressing a Press Conference on “Major Social Welfare Initiatives” to mark the Birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar here today. Shri Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment was also present.

Shri Gehlot informed the media persons that 14 scholarship schemes for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) / Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes (DNTs) students covering 3.54 crore students are under digital payment. All Scholarship amount are released to students’ bank account and there is 60% Aadhaar seeding in SC student bank account. Educational Empowerment for SCs is through scholarships, hostels for students, coaching facilities, capital for creation/upgradation of premises, institution etc. The Government of India believes that Education for all is the key to empowerment. M/o SJE implements seven different types of scholarships, which include: Post and Pre-Matric Scholarships; Top Class Scholarship; National Overseas Scholarships; National Fellowship for Scheduled Castes administered by the UGC; Pre-Matric Scholarship for Children of those engaged in unclean occupations; Free Coaching for Scheduled Castes and OBCs (70: 30 ratio); and Upgradation of merit. Nearly 54 % of Budget of the M/o SJ&E is incurred on scholarships for Scheduled castes.

The Minister emphasized that the Government is committed for the social, economic and educational uplift of the Scheduled Castes and has therefore enunciated policies and schemes across different Ministries for targeted benefit and progress of the scheduled castes. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has been amended and enforced with effect from 26.1.2016. It is now mandated that the trial for atrocities against SC/ST be completed within two months from the date of filing the charge sheet.

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