Government of India started thinking of delivering social justice to citizens by enabling various agencies to adopt a rights-based approach.

 

Categorization of Schemes

The schemes which are being implemented by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment are basically meant to fulfill the mandate of the Department which includes the Empowerment of its target groups in the following manner:

  1. Economic Empowerment
  2. Educational Empowerment
  3. Social Empowerment

 

Scheduled Castes/OBCs Welfare

  1. Educational Empowerment
    1. The Schemes relating to Educational Empowerment of the SCs are:
      1. Scholarships Schemes
      2. Schemes relating to Construction of Hostels
  • Schemes relating to Coaching of the students
  1. Economic Empowerment
    1. The following groups of schemes are meant for Economic Empowerment of the SCs:
      1. Loans at concessional rates of interest
      2. Micro credit
      3. Skill development
    2. Social Empowerment
      1. The following schemes are meant to socially empower the SCs:
        1. Curbing practice of untouchability, discrimination & atrocities (Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act)
        2. Support to NGOs who work for target groups
        3. Recognition through National awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ambedkar and Social Justice

 

Understanding Ambedkar

  • Ambedkar’s life is a unique example of success despite all the odds. He struggled against the widespread forces of the society, shaped by thousands of years of exploitation and marginalization throughout his life. Despite these struggles, he made the best of opportunities he received and made his way through the system to one of the most intellectually inspiring figures in politics of modern India.
  • Ambedkar’s understanding of social justice by shaped by his personal experiences of discrimination in school and later as a professor in Bombay, where despite his excellent education credentials, he was consistently treated as an “untouchable” by fellow professors.

View on Social Justice and view on Socio-Cultural Rights

  • Ambedkar believed in complete liberty and availability of an individual to pursue every sphere of life to develop one’s total personality.
  • He understood the Indian social system as that which is very distinct from the western social system, and recognized that role of the state was a must for making opportunities available for individuals of marginalized sections to be able to realize their best selves.
  • For this purpose (achieving social and economic rights), he believed, it was necessary to provide these sections of people with political rights that would make it possible for them and empower them to achieve these goals.
  • This became the foundation of much of the Indian constitution’s view of social, political and economic justice, as laid in the Preamble of the Constitution, and later with the emergence of the movement for political and economic (in public jobs) reservations in the 1980s.

 

Achievements:

  • Started publications, organizations and also a satyagraha against the caste system in 1924 in Bombay.
  • Established “Bahiskrit Hitkarni Sabha” here with social workers and people of the lower classes and untouchables
  • “Self-help is the best help”
  • Stressed on education to instill confidence among the oppressed classes.
  • Satyagraha at Mahad to allow oppressed classes to be able to drink water from public water tanks
  • Nasik Satyagraha for right to temple entry

View on Political Rights

  • Ambedkar believed that the achievement of social and economic justice of the oppressed class was possible mostly through achievement of political rights for them.
  • He advocated peaceful and constitutional means to achieve these political rights through satyagraha, popular agitations, writings and demand of reservations for the oppressed classes in all spheres of the government – jobs, legislative assemblies etc.
  • For this reason, he had demanded separate electorate for the oppressed class (STs and the SCs) just like separate electorate for Muslims granted by the British in 1909. However, this was strongly opposed by Gandhi who believed that such step would cause further division of the Indian society, and finally both agreed at reservation for the oppressed class in the electorates, that would guarantee some political power as demanded by Ambedkar.
  • He believed that the democracy could not be achieved through formation of a political democratic state. In fact, it was important for the establishment of a society that understands the value of right of each individual to personal development and freedom. Hence, there should be a social democracy to achieve a successful political democracy. Democracy is not a form of government but a form of society.
  • Ambedkar in 1943, argued that, ” A democratic form of Government presupposes a democratic form of society. The formal framework of democracy is of no value and would indeed be a misfit if there was no social democracy”. He further emphasized, “The politicals never realized that democracy was not a form of Government: it was essentially a form of society”.
  • Additionally, Ambedkar believed that the oppressed class did not possess economic power, hence political power was must in achieving economic and social power for these classes.
  • Use of Pressure Groups was advocated by him to lobby for the rights. It is because of these that reservation avenues opened up for the oppressed class.