Chapter on Welfare

  • The erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was formed in 1985 by transferring subjects relating to welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Minorities and Other Backward Classes from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the welfare of the Disabled and programmes of Social Defence from the erstwhile Ministry of Social and Women’s Welfare in 1986.
  • The name of the Ministry of Welfare was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in May, 1998.
  • In October, 1999, the Tribal Development Division was moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • In January, 2007, the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit was moved out of the Ministry and formed as a separate Ministry of Minority Affairs, and the Child Development Division was merged with the Ministry of Women & Child Development.


  • In pursuance of Article 17 of the Constitution of India, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 was enacted and notified in May, 1955.
  • Subsequently, it was amended and renamed in the year 1976 as the “Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955”. Rules under this Act were notified in 1977.
  • Act extends to whole India & provides punishment for practice of untouchability.
  • It is implemented by respective State Governments & UT Administrations.


  • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 came into force with effect from 1990.
  • This legislation aims at preventing commission of offences by persons other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Comprehensive Rules under this Act were notified in the year 1995, which, inter—alia, provide norms for relief and rehabilitation.


  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which was set up under Article 383 of the Constitution in 1990 was bifurcated into two Commissions namely, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes after the 89th Constitutional (Amendment) Act,
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is responsible for monitoring the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes and also to review issues concerning their welfare.

Functions of the NCSC as enumerated in the Article 338(5) of the Constitution are:—

  • to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any other law.
  • to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.
  • to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes.
  • to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
  • to make in such reports recommendations that should be taken by Union or State for protection & welfare of the Scheduled Castes.

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