Ministry-wise Initiatives 2019: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

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Relevance:
Mains: GS II-

  • Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.

About the Ministry: 

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is a Government of India ministry.
  • It is responsible for welfare, social justice, and the empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society.
  • The vision of the D/o Social Justice & Empowerment is to build an inclusive society wherein members of the target groups can lead productive, safe and dignified lives with adequate support for their growth and development.
  • It aims to support and empower its target groups through programmes of educational, economic and social development and rehabilitation wherever necessary.
  • The mandate of the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment is the empowerment of the socially, educationally and economically marginalized sections of the society including
    1. Scheduled Castes
    2. other Backward Class
    3. Senior Citizens
    4. Victims of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
    5. Transgender Persons
    6. Beggars
    7. Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs) 
    8. Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) and
    9. Economically Weaker Section (EWS)
  • In the year 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare.
    • Simultaneously, the Scheduled Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Division were moved from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • Also, the Wakf Division was removed from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare.
    • Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in May 1998.
    • Further, in October 1999, the Tribal Development Division had moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
    • In January 2007, the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit have been moved out of the Ministry and formed as a separate Ministry and the Child Development Division has gone to the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • Though the subject of “Disability” figures in the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, The Government of India has always been proactive in the disability sector.
    • It is not only running seven National Institutes (NIs) dealing with various types of disabilities and seven Composite Regional Centers (CRCs), which provide rehabilitation services to PwDs.
    • They run courses for rehabilitation professionals but also funds a large number of NGOs for similar services and also a National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC) which provides loans at concession rates of interest to PwDs for self-employment.
    • Besides, the Union Government is a party to 
      1. Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and the Pacific Region – adopted in Beijing in December 1992, and
      2. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which came into effect in May 2008.
    • The subject has received attention in various States Governments in varying degrees.
    • At the Central level also disability being one of the several responsibilities of the M/o SJ&E, and being looked after by just one bureau, has resulted in inadequate attention, as most of its time and energy is spent only on implementing Ministry's own schemes.
    • In the above background, it was stated in the 11th Five Year Plan that “The 'Disability Division' of the M/oSJ&E will be strengthened by converting it into a separate Department so that it can liaise effectively with all the other concerned Ministries/Departments and fulfill its responsibilities towards the disabled”.
    • Looking to the specialized nature of the subject on “Disability”, the wide-ranging work to be done in the light of the UNCRPT, and the inadequacy of existing implementation structure, the time has now come to upgrade the existing Disability Bureau in the M/o SJ&E.
    • The decision to create a separate Department of Disability Affairs within the M/o SJ&E was taken up by the Government.
    • Now the two departments have been created under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment namely:
      1. Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag) 
      2. Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag).                


Organization of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment:

The ministry has five bureaus, each headed by a Joint Secretary:

  1. Scheduled Castes Development Bureau;
  2. Backward Classes Bureau Coordination, Media, Administration;
  3. Disability Bureau;
  4. Social Defense (SD) Bureau; and
  5. Project, Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Bureau.

Statutory Bodies:

  1. Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, New Delhi
  2. National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities
  3. Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI)

National Institutes:

  1. Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai (AYJNIHH)
  2. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi (formerly Institute for the Physically Handicapped (IPH))
  3. National Institute for Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata
  4. National Institute of Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad (NIMH)
  5. National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun
  6. National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, Cuttack (NIRTAR)
  7. National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai
  8. Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC).
Schemes/Initiatives/Achievements of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 

Empowerment of Transgender Persons: 

  • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

Empowerment of Senior Citizens:

  • Vayoshreshtha Samman to eminent Senior Citizens and institutions.

 Schemes/Initiatives to prevent Drug Abuse:

  1. Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism & Substance (DRUG) Abuse Scheme.
  2. National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance (Drug) Abuse in India.
  3. 17th Run Against Drug Abuse.

Empowerment of SCs & STs:

  1. MoU signed between DAIC and DICCI to empower SC and ST communities through research on Dalit Entrepreneurship.
  2. Scheme of Dr. Ambedkar Chairs.
  3. Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages.
  4. Dr. Ambedkar Foundation National Essay Competition Scheme.

Achievements of the Department of Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities (DEPWD):

  1. Accessible India Campaign.
  2. National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR).
  3. Centre for Disability Sports.
  4. Report on Status of Disability and Implementation of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
  5. Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing Ability in Disability
  6. National Awards for Outstanding Work Done Towards Empowerment of PwDs

Now, we will look at these Schemes/Initiatives/Achievements one by one.

Empowerment of Transgender Persons: 

  • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019:
    • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was passed by the Parliament in late 2019.
    • The Act will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding the principles underlying the Act.
    • It will bring greater accountability on the part of the Central Government and State Governments/Union Territories Administrations for issues concerning Transgender persons.
    • The Act will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination, and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society.
    • It will lead to greater inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of society.

Empowerment of Senior Citizens:

  • Vayoshreshtha Samman to eminent Senior Citizens and institutions:
    • The President of India presented the “VayoshreshthaSamman” to the eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of the elderly persons, to mark the “International Day of Older Persons”, at a function in New Delhi on October 03, 2019.
    • The experience of Senior Citizens is a Plethora of wisdom.
    • The coveted VayoshreshthaSamman was instituted in the year 2005 and was upgraded to the status of National Awards in the year 2013.
    • The National Awards were presented in 13 different categories.
    • Since the 2014-15, the Ministry has disbursed Rs. 190.62 crores to 1595 NGOs towards the maintenance of old age homes across the country.

 Schemes/Initiatives to prevent Drug Abuse:

  1. Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism & Substance (DRUG) Abuse Scheme:
    • The objectives of the Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse are:
      • To create awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of alcoholism and substance abuse on the individual, the family, the workplace and society at large.
      • To provide for the whole range of community-based services for the identification, motivation, counseling, de-addiction, aftercare and rehabilitation for Whole Person Recovery (WPR) of addicts to make a person drug free, crime-free and gainfully employed.
      • To alleviate the consequences of drug and alcohol dependence amongst the individual, the family, and society at large.
      • To facilitate research, training, documentation, and collection of relevant information to strengthen the above-mentioned objectives.
      • To support other activities that are in consonance with the mandate of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in this field.
    • Since the 2014-15, the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment has released Rs. 210.68 Crores towards the Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse.
    • Under the scheme, the total number of beneficiaries is 4,98,247 and Since 2014-15, Ministry has assisted 1777 projects of the 1082 NGOs throughout India.
  2. National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance (Drug) Abuse in India:
    • The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment has assigned the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of substance (Drugs) Abuse in India to National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), AIIMS, New Delhi, which is completed.
    • National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-25 has also been prepared and implemented, which aims at the reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multipronged strategy involving education, de-addiction, and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.
    • Since 2014-15, under the scheme, the total number of beneficiaries is 4,98,247.
  3. 17th Run Against Drug Abuse: 
    • The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment took part in the 17th Run Against Drug Abuse”, on the occasion of ‘International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking’, in New Delhi on June 26, 2019.

Empowerment of SCs & STs:

  1. MoU signed between DAIC and DICCI to empower SC and ST communities through research on Dalit Entrepreneurship: 
    • An MoU was signed between Dr. Ambedkar International Centre (DAIC), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) in New Delhi on 20th June 2019.
    • The overall motives of this MoU are the empowerment of SC and ST communities through research on Dalit entrepreneurship, empowerment, skill development capacity building among SC/ST women and youth, impact of different schemes of the Government on socio-economic conditions of SC and ST and other similar subjects.
  2. Scheme of Dr. Ambedkar Chairs: 
    • Scheme of Dr. Ambedkar Chairs aims to provide well-funded Centres of learning to intellectuals, academicians and students to undertake studies and research with an intention to understand assess and disseminate ideas and thoughts of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
  3. Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages: 
    • The scheme is to appreciate the socially bold step of an Inter-Caste marriage, taken by the newly married couple and to extend the financial incentives to the couple to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
  4. Dr. Ambedkar Foundation National Essay Competition Scheme: 
    • The scheme aims to encourage writing on social issues, among the Students of Schools/Colleges/Universities/Institutions.
    • It also aims to arouse their interest in Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts on fundamental social issues like social justice, removal of untouchability, caste-based prejudices, removal of inequality and discrimination, social democracy, national integration, communal harmony, etc.


Achievements of the Department of Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities (DEPWD):

  1. Accessible India Campaign: 
    • It is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
    • The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of the built environment, transport system, and Information & communication eco-System.
    • Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) has the following three important components:
      1. Built Environment Accessibility
      2. Transportation System Accessibility
      3. Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility
  2. National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR):
    • The National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) will be established at Sehore, Madhya Pradesh which has been registered as a society under the Madhya Pradesh Society Registration Act, 1973. 
    • It is being established with the objective to promote mental health rehabilitation using an integrated multidisciplinary approach and developing trained professionals in the area of mental health rehabilitation. 
  3. Centre for Disability Sports:
    • The Government has approved setting up of a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh with a view to provide contemporary training facilities for Divyang Sportspersons at par with leading countries in the world.
  4. Report on Status of Disability and Implementation of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD):
    • India’s First Country Report on Status of Disability and Implementation of the UNCRPD was submitted in November 2015 was considered and successfully adopted by the United Nations along with certain recommendations.
  5. Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing Ability in Disability:
    • A Cultural Event “Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing Ability in Disability” was organized on 23rd July 2019.
    • The event showcased the talents of children and youth with disabilities from different parts of the country.
    • It was held in the august presence of Hon’ble President of India, Hon’ble Vice-President of India, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Hon’ble Council of Ministers and Hon’ble Members of both the Houses of Parliament.
  6. National Awards for Outstanding Work Done Towards Empowerment of PwDs:
    • The Vice President of India conferred National Awards for Outstanding Work Done Towards Empowerment of PwDs on International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December 2019).
    • He conferred the National Awards on Individuals, Institutions, Organizations and State/District, etc. for their outstanding achievements and work done towards the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). 



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