MoSJE on issues relating to Dalits

  • Dalit is a word in Sanskrit and Hindi which means oppressed or underprivileged
  • Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar has undoubtedly been one of the central figures in the evolution of the dalit philosophy in India. His works and thoughts have touched almost all serious or important issues in the life of Dalits.
  • The major achievement of Dr. Ambedkar was that he succeeded in getting an identity and self respect for the Dalits. He adopted the means of constitutional movements and self-reliance for getting this. Through his movement for Dalits, he made the upper classes to introspect and think about the social inequality.
  • He was able to establish harmony in the demands of the dalits and the society, this resulted in special safeguards against discrimination and enabling features for positive discrimination for these classes in the Indian Constitution.
  • More than half a century of the Government policies and schemes on the empowerment of the dalits indicate that there has been improvement in the status of the dalits in the ownership of agricultural land and private enterprise, education, in public employment and other spheres. These improvements post Independence have occurred on account of the Constitutional directives, legislative and executive measures, implemented by successive Governments at the Central and State level.
  • Despite these improvements, SCs/STs continue to lag behind and the gap between them and others is still very wide. Their performance with respect to human development is much less than other groups:
    • SCs continue to be landless & asset less by and large.
    • In 2009-10, only about one third of SC households owned some assets.
    • Few SC rural households owned private enterprises, when compared to others.
    • The SCs also lag behind in access to civic amenities.
    • Access to higher education is also low; enrolment rate being lower than rest
    • Unemployment rate is almost double compared to the rest
  • Thus, in term of access to assets, land, private enterprises, employment, education, drinking water, sanitation and housing, SCs suffer deprivation and consequently deeper levels of poverty. Added to this, SCs at many places continue to suffer untouchability, discrimination in public spheres and caste based atrocities.
  • access of dalits to agricultural land and private enterprise and business needs to improve. The productivity of small farmers from Scheduled Castes needs to improve by providing them access to inputs.
  •  private enterprises owned by dalits etc. needs to be made profitable. The government has introduced policy of affirmative action in procurement.
  • Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) is a critical initiative of the Government in closing the development gap between the Scheduled Castes when compared to others. However, the implementation of SCSP needs to be improved.
  • We are striving to get statutory backing to SCSP through a legislation to ensure its effective implementation.
  • need to focus on effective implementation of SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. We are also working for its amendment and presently consulting all the stakeholders including State Governments.
  • Ended with a quote of Babasaheb Ambedkar:

    “The first condition precedent for the successful working of democracy is that there must be no glaring inequalities in the society. Secondly, there must be statutory provisions to mitigate the sufferings and to safeguard the interest of the suppressed and oppressed people. The society must be based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity in order to ensure social endosmosis”.

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