Dalits welfare

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    10th Sep, 2019

Context

The Union government has identified 26,968 Dalit-majority villages for focused implementation of various government schemes over the next five years.

About

  • All existing Central and state welfare schemes that are necessary to meet critical gaps in socio-economic and infrastructure needs, and reduce disparities will be implemented in Dalit villages.
  • These villages — where over 50 per cent of the total population are Dalits and those with a sizeable overall population — have been zeroed in under the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana for “integrated development”.
  • While the scheme is mainly about ensuring focused implementation and convergence of existing Central and state government schemes, the ministry provides Rs 21 lakh per village as gap funding.
  • According to the 2011 Census, Dalits make up 16.6 per cent of the country’s total population, with states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Delhi recording more than 20 per cent Dalit population.

Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana was first launched on a pilot basis in 2009-10 for an area-based development approach of predominantly Dalit villages.
  • It aimed to achieve integrated development of selected villages with more than 50% SC population through convergent implementation of all relevant Central and State schemes.

Problems in implementation of PMAGY

  • Over the last decade, merely 2,500 Dalit-majority villages were taken up under the scheme.
  • Due to the pace, people gradually lost interest and the implementation fizzled out eventually.
  • Due to the break in continuity, there was no regular Budget allocation for the scheme on an annual basis.

New approach to improve efficiency

  • It has been decided to scale up the coverage and 7,000 villages so far have been taken as per new approach.
  • The earlier approach of the scheme was to ensure the development of physical infrastructure in these Scheduled Caste majority villages.
  • It has now been redesigned to include 50 socio-economic indicators that have to be improved so as to reduce the inequality between Dalit and general households in these villages.
  • These 50 “monitorable indicators” fall within 10 key basic service areas such as health, education, drinking water and sanitation, social security, roads and housing, electricity, agriculture, livelihoods, financial inclusion, and digitisation.
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