3rd Five Year Plan
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Chapter 34:

General considerations programmes for bringing scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other backward classes to the level of the rest of the community are among the most significant undertaken during the First and Second Plans. Success in fulfilling them is difficult to measure. It involves far-reaching changes in social organisation and in social practices and is a test equally of the progress achieved in improving the conditions of the sections of the community directly affected and in reconstructing the structure of the Indian society itself, specially in rural areas. Article 46 of the Constitution laid down the Directive Principle that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and, in particular, of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. The Constitution also provided for certain reservations for scheduled tribes and scheduled castes. These were limited, in the first instance, to a period of ten years but by a recent amendment of the Constitution, these reservations have been extended by a further period of ten years. Since such safeguards are a reflection of the economic and social conditions of the groups concerned. Parliament's action has a twofold significance. Firstly, the problem of raising the living standards of scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other weaker sections of the population is much more complex than had been earlier realised and calls for sustained endeavour over a long period. Secondly, besides ensuring rapid and sustained growth for the economy as a whole, at least during the next two or three Plans, measures for advancing the economic' and social interests of scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other weaker sections of the community should be so intensified, that they do, in fact, reach a level of well-being comparable with that of other sections of the population. Development programmes included in the plans of States and the Centre for the Third Five Year Plan will need to be continually re-assessed from fir's angle and steps taken to increase their total impact in various directions as the Plan proceeds. This is a crucial task in the attempt to evolve an integrated society and a well-knit economy for the country as a whole.

2. The lists of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes were revised in 1956. On this basis, according to the census of 1951, the total population of scheduled tribes was estimated at 22.5 million and that of scheduled castes at 55 million. The oooulation of 'denotified' tribes (formerly d cribed as 'criminal' tribes) was reckoned at about 4 million. In different States, according to the local conditions, certain other groups are also described as 'other backward classes' and special steps are taken to safeguard their interests.

Development programmes for the welfare of backward classes, for which provision is made in the Five Year Plans, are intended to supplement benefits accruing from programmes of development in different fields such as agriculture, cooperation, irrigation, small industries, communications, education, health, housing, rural water supply and others. One of the principal lessons of the past decade is that for a variety of reasons, in the ordinary course, the weaker sections of the population are not able to secure their fair share of the benefits of provisions made under different heads. To enable them to do so, it is desirable that the normal patterns of assistance should provide, wherever necessary, for an element of special consideration for the weaker sections and, in particular, for the backward classes. It is observed that in a number of schemes formulated in favour of backward classes, the financial resources provided for this section of the population are proposed to be utilised in part to meet the cost of additional subsidy or other assistance to enable the backward clashes to avail themselves of the general development programmes. This has the effect of reducing the scope of additional development to be undertaken from the special provisions made for the backward classes. The problem needs further consideration, since, on the one hand, it is essential that the general development programmes should be so designed as to cater adequately for the backward classes and, on the other, the special provisions in the Plan should be used as far as possible for securing additional and more intensified development.

3. For programmes relating to the welfare of backward classes, a total outlay of Rs. 79 crores was incurred in the Second Plan compared to Rs. 30 crores in the First Plan. The Third Plan at present provides for programmes estimated to cost about Rs. 114 crores. The distribuiton of these outlays among different sections is shown below :

(Rs. crores)


First Plan outlay Second Plan estimated expenditure 1 Third Plan estimated cost of programmes
scheduled tribes 19-83 43-00 60-43
scheduled castes 7-08 27-66 40-40
denotified tribes 1-10 2-89 4-00
other backward classes 2-03 5-86 9-04
total 30-04 79-41 113-87

In respect of scheduled tribes, besides the provisions in the plans of States which are intended to benefit them in particular, developmental outlays of territories like NEFA, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura, are reckoned in the Third Plan at over Rs. 40 crores c'ompared to over Rs. 20 crores in the Second Plan.

4. Of the outlay of Rs. 114 crores in the Third Plan, provided for the welfare of backward classes, about Rs. 42 crores are intended for schemes of educational development, Rs. 47 crores for economic uplift schemes and Rs. 25 crores for health, housing and other schemes. The problems of scheduled castes and other backward classes are essentially those of economically weaker sections of the community, who suffer also in larger or smaller measure from social disabilities. Denotified tribes constitute a special group whose assimilation into the larger community presents peculiar difficulties, but is nonetheless a matter of great urgency. In the context of a rapidly developing economy, scheduled tribes can no longer remain in the isolation which characterised them in the past and in many areas, with the onset of industrialisation and large irrigation and power projects, they confront the most complex problems of adjustment and rehabilitation. Although there are certain common considerations and approaches, scheduled tribes living in different parts of the country vary a great deal among themselves, and the special conditions and problems of different tribal groups have always to be kept in view.

II Scheduled Tribes

5. The broad policies to be followed for the development of tribal populations and tribal areas have been reviewed recently by the Study Team on Social Welfare and Welfare of Backward Classes set up by the Committee on Plan Projects, the Committee on Special Multipurpose Tribal Blocks and the Central Advisory Board for Tribal Welfare and also in special studies in respect of such tribal areas as NEFA and Nagaland. There is a broad consensus of opinion that while the rest of the population of the country goes forward, and India and the world change so rapidly, the tribal areas can scarcely remain in isolation. At the same time, it would be ah error to over-administer these areas in the name of development and, in particular, to send too many officials and others to work amongst the tribal people. A middle way between these extreme positions has to be found.

6. Development in such directions as education and provision of training facilities, improvement of agriculture, building up of communications, improvement of health and medical facilities and supply of drinking water are both essential and inevitable. In facilitating these developments, the tribal people should be enabled to develop along the lines of their own genius, with genuine respect and support for their own traditional arts and culture and without pressure or imposition from outside. In tribal areas every effort should be made to train and build up a team of their own people to do the work of administration and development. Some technical personnel from outside would no doubt be needed, specially in the beginning, but the ami should be constantly to develop local personnel both as official functionaries and as social workers. In determining the development schemes to be implemented, as experience during recent years bears out, it is desirable to avoid taking up too many small and isolated schemes which cannot have much impact;instead the stress should be on a few programmes of basic importancfe which are calculated to mitigate poverty, impart new skills, promote health and better living, improve communications without upsetting the stability of social and cultural values, the pattern of leadership and institutions and the scheme of obligations within the tribal community.

7. Execution of development programmes meets with several practical difficulties and limitations. For instance, in the absence of adequate local personnel or effective means of communication between personnel engaged in development work and the traditional leadership and institutions, it may not always be easy to observe the various tribal policies outlined above. Nevertheless, these policies provide general guidance in formulating and carrying out development programmes. It was in view of the special character of the problems involved that Article 339 of the Constitution provided for the setting up of a Commission within ten years of the commencement of the Constitution to report on the administration of scheduled areas and the welfare of the scheduled tribes in the States. The Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission, which was set up in April, 1960, has recently submitted an interim report based on its study of developments in nine States (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pra-desh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab and Rajas-than) and one Union Territory (Himachal Pradesh). In this report the Commission has drawn urgent attention, amongst others, to the following important aspects :

(1) In most States the special protective machinery for safeguarding the interests of the tribal people and protecting them from exploitation by outsiders has not worked satisfactorily. There have been large-scale transfers of tribal land consequent upon the undesirable activities of money-lenders, forest contractors and other exploiters. The reorganisation of forests and enunciation of new policies have resulted in the curtailment of their rights in forests and in fishing and hunting. In Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa industrial and other development schemes have led to large-scale displacement of the tribal people. There is need, therefore, for strengthening and in some cases for reorganising the administrative set up for the scheduled areas.

(2) The requirements of personnel for working in tribal areas, specially Tribal Welfare Officers, technical specialists and field level workers have not been adequately assessed. This factor is responsible for a setback in the implementation of welfare schemes. Recruitment of personnel without a long-term view of requirements has proved unsatisfactory. There has been a chronic shortage of trained workers in the scheduled areas. Personnel who are to work in tribal areas must be oriented to the tribal way of life and appreciation of the special disabilities from which the tribal people suffer. Development activities more or less conceived on the lines of non-tribal areas have generally failed to make adequate headway and impact on the tribal areas. There is need, therefore, for a larger effort through special institutions and otherwise for giving orientation training to personnel at various levels working in tribal areas. Difficulties such as the grant of requisite allowances for personnel who have to work under difficult conditions have also to be resolved satisfactorily.

(3) There are large number of problems emerging in tribal areas which call for scientific study and evaluation, for instance, the impact of industrialisation in tribal areas, the rate of disposition of land, prevalence of various systems of debt bondage, and social and economic effects on the tribal people of specific development schemes and of institutions like ashram schools, forest labourers' cooperative societies, grain goals, etc.

(4) Non-official voluntary organisations have a significant role in the development of tribal areas. They should be adequately assisted on the basis of programmes which are carefully formulated and coordinated with other activities.

The existing at Tangements have to be considered further in the light of the Commission's recommendations and steps taken to improve upon them where necessary.

Programmes for The Third Plan

8. During the Second Plan a variety of development schemes have been undertaken in tribal areas. Thus, the economic uplift programme has included schemes for land settlement, land reclamation, distribution of seed and setting up of demonstration farms, establishment of service cooperatives and forest labourers' cooperatives, and improvement of communications. In the educational programme, stress has been laid on concessions in the form of stipends, freeships and other grants, scholarships before and after matriculation, establishment of new schools,ncluding ashram schools and training in agricultural and industrial crafts. Schemes for supply of drinking water, for improvement of housing conditions and for setting up of dispensaries, maternity and child welfare centres and mobile health units have also been undertaken.

9. In the light of the experience gained in the Second Plan, the general lines on which programmes should be drawn up for the Third Plan were considered by a special working group. It is proposed that economic uplift[ programmes should give priority to the economic rehabilitation of persons engaged in shifting cultivation, working of forests through cooperatives composed of members of scheduled tribes, and formation of multi-purpose cooperatives for meeting the credit requirements of tribal agriculturists and artisans and for marketing their products. From the provisions made under different heads, programmes should be undertaken in tribal areas for land improvement, land reclamation and soil conservation, minor irrigation, supply of improved seeds, manures, implements and bullocks, provision of facilities for training, demonstration of improved practices, development of cattle, fisheries, poultry, piggeries and sheep-breeding, organisation of training-cum^production centres and provision of assistance and advice to village artisans engaged in cottage industries. In the programme for education, apart from primary schools to be provided for under the general scheme, there should be assistance at the middle and secondary stages for freeships and stipends and hostels. Scholarships and freeships should also be provided for technical training. The main highways should be undertaken as part of the general development programme and resources provided for scheduled tribes should be used, in particular, for culverts, causeways and bridges needed for connecting inaccessible areas, approach roads, jeepable forest roads and repairs to existing communications with remote and inaccessible areas. In the medical and public health programme, the working group has suggested priority for preventive measures for diseases common in each area, provision of itinerant medical units, establishment of matenr'ty and child welfare centres and provision of drinking water in difficult areas.

10. The plans of States have been generally drawn up in accordance with the suggestions outlined above. They will, however, need to be reviewed from two aspects, namely :

(a) greater intensification in the light of the recommendations which may be made by the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission, and (b) ensuring that the special provisions are utilised as far as possible for additional programmes rather than merely for altering the patterns of assistance made available to the backward classes under the general schemes of development. As a rule, such concessions as are considered necessary in the interest of these groups should be built into the schemes themselves and should not be denendent on resources being diverted from the limited provisions made specifically for the welfare of backward classes.

11. The Plan provides for a large programme of tribal development blocks, which aim at intensive and coordinated development in tribal areas on the general pattern of community development, but modified to suit tribal conditions and supplemented by additional resources. In all, 43 development blocks came under this programme during the Second Plan. Each Block involved a total outlay of Rs. 27 lakhs, Rs. 12 lakhs being found under Community Development and Rs. 15 lakhs by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The scheme has now been altered so as to provide for a total outlay of Rs. 22 lakhs in stage I (the contribution of the Ministry of Home Affairs being; Rs. 10 lakhs), followed by a further period of five years under stage II for which an allotment of Rs. 10 lakhs will be made; Rs. 5 lakhs under Community Development and Rs. 5 lakhs from the Ministry of Home Affairs. FoUowing the recommendations made by the Committee on Special Multi-purpose Tribal Blocks, the scheme of Development in these areas has been made much more flexible. The programme will now extend not only to scheduled areas but also to those blocks in which the tribal population constitutes two-thirds or more of the total population. In place of the schematic budget suggesting in detail the distribution of the available resources under different heads, it is now proposed that about 60 per cent of the funds should be allotted for economic uplift, 25 per cent for communications and 15 per cent for social services, with the suggestion that for tackling effectively the problem of drinking water supply further resources might be secured from the provision for economic uplift. The Third Plan provides in all for 300 tribal development blocks.

12. As a result of recent discussions there is already a concensus of opwon as to the basic conditions required for the successful execution of the programme for tribal development blocks. These are, in particular, careful planning, coordination of activities, framing and orientation of personnel to the needs of the tribal communities, special attention to the requirements of the poorer and the more inaccessible areas, respect for tribal rights in land and forests and active association of the traditional tribal organisations and leadership with the implementation of development programmes. The programme for tribal development blocks is being implemented as a Centrally sponsored scheme. Other development schemes in the same category are those relating to cooperation, including forest cooperatives, and marketing-cum-consumer cooperatives, award of post-matriculation scholarships, Tribal Research Institutes and training, research and surveys.

13. As pointed out earlier, the programme for scheduled tribes will be reviewed after the final proposals of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission become available. In this connection, it may be stated that in its interim report, to nine States and one Union Territory, the Commission has recommended a total outlay of about Rs. 73 crores as against the provision in the Plan as at present formulated (including both State Plans and Centrally sponsored schemes) of about Rs. 54 crores. The following table compares the present provisions in the Plan for all States and Union Territories and those for areas considered in the interim report of the Commission :

(Rs. crores)

  ll States and Union Territories provision in the Third Plan nine State' and one Union Territory
provision in the Third Plan Centre and t States

outlay recommended in the Interim RepOTt of he scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission
education 14-48 12-26 15-38
economic uplift 37-12 34-39 48-07
health, housing and other schemes 9-55 6-99 9-45
total 61-15 53-64 72.90

The Commission has also indicated the possibility of additional areas being declared as scheduled areas; for these, some supplementary resources may be required. The Commission's proposals regarding development programmes, which will be considered carefully, may call for some further resources. The precise additions needed in the provisions for scheduled tribes, the extent to which the further outlays proposed under different heads can be met from the general allotments made for them in the Plan and the respective contributions of the Centre and of individual States will be considered in due course.

Problems of Development

14. As a result of work in the first two Plans and the reviews undertaken by expert committees and others, the general patterns of development in tribal areas are fairly well established. It is of course essential to strengthen the machinery for implementation. It is also necessary from time to time to assess the progress which is realised. Objective evaluation is of great importance because in a field as com-p'ex as the welfare of tribal populations, there is frequently a gap between the policies which are enunciated and the manner in which effect is given to them in the field. In the tribal areas, such a gap is not only undesirable in itself but may lead to frustration and may cause serious social and psychological disturbances.

15. In carrying out programmes of development during the Third Plan, there are certain aspects which need to be specially stressed. The principal economic problems of tribal populations centre on lack of continuous employment and the prevailing indebtedness. In a real sense these are interconnected problems. Tribal communities depend for their living almost entirely on agriculture and forests. The importance of safeguarding their rights in land and in forests has been stressed already. In some Stales, notably in Maharashtra and Gujarat, forests in scheduled areas are to a large extent worked through forest labourers' cooperatives composed ot tribal people. These have on the whole proved satisfactory, but care has to be taken to see that the workers are not exploited either by subordinate officials of Forest Departments or by unscrupulous persons from amongst the tribal people themselves. Invariably, social workers and officials of Tribal Welfare Departments should be associated with the working of these cooperatives. In States in which exploitation of forest resources is still being undertaken mainly through contractors, the existing system should be replaced as early as possible.

16. To a large extent improvement in the economic conditions of scheduled tribes depends upon the success with which levels of agriculture are raised. From this aspect, wherever settled cultivation already exists, there should be the utmost stress on supply of improved seeds, fertilisers and credit, increase of irrigation soil conservation and land reclamation, adoption of better implements and technical guidance. Where shifting cultivation prevails, the transition to settled agriculture is generally likely to be slow and long-drawn. In these areas, the primary aim should be to ensure that shifting cultivation is carried out on a scientific basis so as to limit its disadvantages and promote the fertility of the soil. The problems of changing over from shifting to settled cultivation are now better appreciated than in the past; nevertheless they need to be studied at first hand in each area jointly by agricultural and tribal experts and social workers associated with them before the communities concerned are advised to change the practices which they are accustomed to follow.

17. Among the tribal people there are many factors for favour of development along cooperative lines. However, for cooperation to succeed in raising levels of income and increasing production, it is essential that the problem of past indebtedness should be dealt with in a more basic way than in the past. Some action has been recently taken in the States. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh interest outstanding in January 1957 in favour of any creditor is discharged and only the principal is payable. Interest rates are also regulated. Investigations into the extent of indebtedness among scheduled tribes have been undertaken in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Assam, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh and in the Lahaul and Spiti areas in the Punjab. The problem as a whole needs fresh consideration. The available data might be considered by a special committee with a view to evolving effective measures arid policies. These must include, amongst others, provisions for liquidation and settlement of debts as well as regulation of the terms and conditions for new loans. For the future, the main reliance will necessarily have to be placed on rapid development of cooperative finance and marketing. In this connection the working of schemes like the Andhra Scheduled Tribes Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation snould be studied closely with a view to determining further directions of cooperative development among scheduled tribes. It is important that cooperative organisations should be adapted to the actual requirements of scheduled tribes and the conditions prevailing in different areas and that rules and procedures should be greatly simplified. The Ministry of Home Affairs have recently constituted a working group to consider how scheduled tribes and other backward classes should be assisted to benefit fully from programmes of cooperative development during the Third Plan and to suggest suitable types of cooperative organisation and the changes needed in rules and bye-laws.

18. In tribal areas, as a rule, there is considerable under-employment. It is proposed that in the rural worKs programmes to be undertaken during the Third Plan, the requirements of employment in tribal areas during the long slack agricultural seasons should be specially kept in view.

19. In the plans of States there are several schemes for the promotion of cottage industries in tribal areas. In the past, cottage industry programmes do not appear to have had a significant impact. This may be due, in part, to the difficulty of selecting the industries to be developed on economic lines, and in part to paucity or personnel and to lack of assured marketing and credit facilities. As suggested by the Committee on Special Multi-purpose Tribal Blocks, it is essential to study closely the arts and crafts which already exist in each area and to consider how these could be developed and also the new crafts which could De introduced on an economically satisfactory basis. In this connection, a further problem may be mentioned. In the tribal areas there is a very large proportion of boys, roughly between the ages of 11 and 14 or 15 years, who have either not gone to school at all or whose education has been discontinued. If facilities for imparting vocational training of even a simple character could be developed in tribal areas, these boys could be equipped for productive work.

20. In recent years, several large projects for the development of irrigation, power and industry have been located in areas inhabited by tribal populations. As an immediate effect of these projects, there has been a considerable measure of dislocation and uprooting. The number of families required to be displaced on account of such projects has frequently run into thousands. Etforts are made to provide compensation in land or cash or both. It is important that the compensation should be sufficient for ensuring effective rehabilitation. As far a? possible, compensation should take the form of land. The productive value of the land which is given up should be an important factor to be taken into account in determining the scale of allotment. It has been observed that compensation taken in cash is soon squandered and frequently, where compensation has taken the form of land, for a variety of reasons, satisfactory resettlement has not been achieved. For a time unskilled work is available at the site of the project. When the construction phase of the project is completed and the need is for skilled workers, there is little scope for employing displaced tribal workers. In these, circumstances, the damage done to the communities concerned as well as to the individuals is irreparabie and becomes, in turn, a source of resentment. With rapid development during tlie Third and subsequent Plans, this problem is likely to grow in magnitude and should be handled with extreme care. In determining locations of projects, the possibility of avoiding eviction wholly or in part should be fully considered. When no alternative exists, it is suggested that instead of dealing with the problem of eviction and resettlement directly through their own officials or even through the normal revenue administrations, the agency of Tribal Welfare Departments and of voluntary organisations should be utilised. Responsible voluntary organisations, if taken into confidence at an early stage in the project and provided with tlie necessary resources, can be most helpful in the task of arranging the transfer of the population, resettlement and other rehabilitation measures. They should of course be given a measure of discretion and flexibility in dealing with the problems which arise. It has to be remembered that even though individuals have to be given compensation, in the context of tribal life, chey do not and cannot stand alone, and it is no less important to sustain their sense of belonging to a larger community with its own way of life and codes of behaviour and organisation.

21. Tribal welfare programmes affect large numbers of people and the many new developments now under way may produce results which may change fundamentally the character of tribal life and institutions. The resulting problems cannot be dealt with satisfactorily without cadres of public servants and social workers having intimate knowledge, imbued with sympathy, and trained in carrying out the tasks allotted to them. Short-term assignments in tribal areas given to officials, who are liable to transfer elsewhere are far from satisfactory. To bring the scheduled tribes to the level of the rest of the population calls for sustained efforts for a generation or more on the part of thousands of devoted public servants and social workers, who should be drawn more and more from amongst the tribal people themselves. As a rule, although much has been accomplished during the first two Plans, departments in the States set up for carrying out development programmes among the tribal people are on the whole insufficiently equipped with personnel and do not always enjoy the requisite support for undertaking the extraordinarily difficult tasks falling to them. In these circumstances, having regard to the special responsibilities envisaged in the Constitution, it might be worth considering whether the Central and State Government should now cooperate in forming a special cadre comprising technical and other personnel for work in scheduled areas and in other areas which have concentration of tribal populations. Such a cadre could provide for personnel above the field level. As a rule, those belonging to the cadre could work within their own States but, at the higher levels of responsibility, they could also be available for work elsewhere. The most significant aspect, of course, is that a body of trained persons would spend their entire period of service among the tribal people, so that their knowledge, experience and sense of identification would become a vital factor in assuring rapid and uninterrupted development. Along with measures taken to strengthen the public service, it is also essential that as a matter of public policy strong voluntary organisations should be built up for work among the tribal people.

Ill Scheduled Castes

22. As distinguished from scheduled tribes, scheduled castes are widely dispersed and, while they form part of the general community, the social disabilities from which they suffer and their economic weakness place them in a special category. The Constitution abolished 'untouchabihty' and forbade its practice in any form, and the (Jntouchability (Offences) Act, 1955, made the offence of 'untouchability' cognisable and punishable uniformly throughout the country. While they have social problems which are peculiar to them, the economic problems of scheduled castes are in the main common with those of other weaker sections of the community. The Third Plan provides about Rs. 40 crores for special programmes relating to scheduled castes as compared with outlays of about Rs. 28 crores in the Second Plan and nearly Rs. 7 crores in the First Plan. About Rs. 30 crores have been provided for scheduled castes in the plans of States. About one-half of this amount is for education schemes and the balance is divided almost equally between (a) schemes for economic uplift and (b) health, housing and other schemes. These provisions are intended to supplement benefits which should be available in an increasing measure to scheduled castes from the general development programmes provided for in the Plan, especially since the Plan places special emphasis on ensuring that the weaker sections of the community obtain their due share of the benefits in each programme. The community development programme, the rural works programme, schemes for land resettlement, the programme for village and small industries and other schemes undertaken in the interest of agricultural labourers have the greatest significance for raising the living standard of scheduled castes and other weaker sections of the community.

23. During the First two Plans, the major stress in carrying out development programmes for scheduled castes has been on education. Thus, as compared to 600,000 scholarships awarded to scheduled caste students in 1956-57, the number in receipt of scholarships at the end of the Second Plan is about 900,000. At the post-matriculation stage, the number of scholarship-holders from among the scheduled castes has risen from less than 1100 at the beginning of the First Plan to about 40,000 at the close of the Second Plan.

24. As explained already, programmes for scheduled castes included in the Third Plan are intended to provide for certain special schems; they do not in any sense take the place of development programmes undertaken for the community as a whole. In the field of education, the main aims are to make available special scholarships based to the extent feasible, on suitable merit-cum-means tests, provision of residential facilities at educational institutions as a rule in mixed hostels, exemption from fees, and financial assistance for needy students. For promoting economic uplift, stress is laid on allotment of land and assistance for settling as cultivators, training in village and small industries and introduction of improved techniques in the traditional crafts. While the bulk of the special allocations are made in the plans of States, the Ministry of Home Affairs provide for the following Centrally sponsored schemes :

  1. improvement of the working conditions of persons engaged in unclean occupations including eradication of the practice of carrying night soil as head loads;
  2. subsidies for housing for sweepers and scavengers;
  3. provision of house sites for members of scheduled castes—
    1. who are engaged in unclean occupations, and
    2. who are landless labourers;
  4. award of post-matric scholarships; and
  5. aid to voluntary organisations.

Under the general housing programmes, funds are earmarked for acquisition and development of lands for granting house sites to agricultural workers amongst whom members of scheduled castes form a considerable proportion.

25. Since members of scheduled castes generally live in small groups intermixed with the rest of the population, their welfare and progress are bound uo to a large extent with those of the community as a whole. Improvement in their living conditions and levels of income constitutes one of the major tests of economic and social progress in the country. Since 1947 legislation has been enacted for dealing with the social disabilities of the scheduled castes and, progressively, with the support of public opinion, arrangements for enforcing the laws are being strengthened. Such social disabilities as remain are in considerable degree due to economic backwardness. Economic development programmes have, therefore, special urgency. In the measure in which, as envisaged in the Third Plan, the benefits of various development programmes can be carried effectively to the weaker sections of the community, scheduled castes will gain from these programmes.

26. While assistance in education is given high priority in programmes for the welfare of backward classes and regulations for recruitment to the public services provide for reservation of posts, it is observed that frequently the prescribed proportions are not being reached. At the same time, in some areas, persons belonging to backward classes who have received some measure of education may be found among the unemployed. This is specially the case with persons whose education fits them only for clerical and like positions. It is, therefore, necessary to place much greater emphasis on technical and vocational training. As proposed in the Chapter on Education, it is also necessary that schemes for scholarships and other assistance in education should be so devised that promising students are effectively able to complete their studies and reach the stage at which they are eligible for permanent employment. It would be desirable to select young persons from amongst scheduled castes and from backward classes in general at an early enough stage and to help them continuously through the entire educational career, with assurance, wherever possible of employment at the end.

27. Voluntary organisations are given assistance for educating the public regarding the removal of untouchability. Assistance for this purpose will be extended to them on a large scale in the Third Plan. It is important that voluntary organisations should go beyond work relating to publicity and propaganda and should actually establish or help to set up institutions such as schools, hospitals, housing cooperatives, industrial centres, etc., and should assist in running them. Such centres will provide an effective base for the work of voluntary organisations and will be of the greatest value in the economic rehabilitation of scheduled castes and o^her sections of the population.

Annual reports of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes indicate the progress made in dealing with the problem of scheduled castes. A general evaluation was also attempted by the Study Team on Social Welfare constituted by the Committee on Plan Projects. Specific problems have been studied by special committees or groups as, for instance, the recent report of the committee appointed by the Central Advisory Boards on Harijan Welfare to consider conditions of scavengers. There is need for fuller and more frequent evaluation of the impact of development programmes on the conditions of scheduled castes, so that, in the light of experience, new methods may be adopted and the existing arrangements strengthened.

IV Denotified Tribes

28. Since the denotification of tribes, formerly described as 'criminal', various schemes for their rehabilitation and development have been taken up in the States. The Third Plan provides Rs. 4 crores as against the anticipated outlay during the First and the Second Plans of about Rs. 1 crore and Rs. 2.9 crores repec-tively. The repeal in 1952 of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1924, embodies a fundamental change in the approach towards ex-criminal tribes from surveillance and punishment to correction, rehabilitation and assimilation into the wider community. Although the total population of these tribes is estimated at about 4 million, they are divided into a large number of groups. each with its own local and traditional background and distinctive features. Some of these tribes are also listed among scheduled castes. The rehabilitation of these tribes presents many problems. Lacking in education, isolated from others, as a rule they are also inadequate as cultivators, and age-old attitudes take time to change. On the whole, the economic development programmes undertaken in recent years in the interest of the denotifled tribes have had very limited impact except where groups of persons could be settled in colonies and developed into a stable and fairly prosperous community. For economic, educational and social programmes to succeed, it is essential that voluntary workers and organisations should be given a larger role. Long years of patient work will be needed among these tribes before their innate fears are laid at rest and confidence gained and the urge to build up a better social and economic life motivates a sufficient number among them to leam new crafts become efficient cultivators and be integrated with the rest of the population.

29. In view of the small results achieved thus far in rehabilitating denotified tribes, it is considered that their needs should be studied in each area at close range and suitable programmes should be formulated, keeping in view the long-term and complex nature of the problems

involved. The programmes could be drawn up broadly on the lines of the recommendations of the Study Team set up by the Committee on Plan Projects, especially the following :

  1. the need for a combined correctional and welfare approach for the rehabilitation of denotified communities, which should be supported by a programme of social education;
  2. formulation of special economic programmes which keep in view the character of the population, in particular, their adventurous spirit and traditional skills;
  3. organisation of industrial and other cooperatives;
  4. provision of opportunities for employment in the public services supported by way of additional training and orientation facilities; and
  5. wherever the denotified tribes constitute a sizable population, cadres of trained workers, who are familiar with their social and cultural background and can work closely with them should be built up.

30. If the problems of the denotified tribes are to be approached in the manner suggested above, special efforts will be needed for close study of the problems and attitudes of different sections among denotified tribes. Investigations among denotified tribes have been undertaken hitherto in an ad hoc manner, and in fact not enough is known about them and of the effects on them of current social and economic developments. In view of the numbers involved and the extremely difficult nature of the problems to be resolved, it is suggested that there should be systematic planning of the studies required and, for this purpose, the assistance of schools of social work and other institutions should be fully availed of. Official agencies concerned with the problems of denotified tribes should be strengthened, and both voluntary organisations and research workers should be closely associated with them. The objective of assimilation should guide the programme of rehabilitation and development from the very start and progressive and forward-looking elements among the denotified tribes themselves should be assisted and encouraged to play an increasing part in this effort.

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