New Delhi: The 2019-2020 budgetary allocation for the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, which caters to the welfare of the backward classes and those with disabilities, saw less than two per cent hike compared to the current fiscal.
Funds allocated for the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment for upcoming financial year saw a mere rise of 0.6 per cent, Rs 7,800 crore from Rs 7,750 crore in 2018-19.
The allocation for the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities saw an increase of 7 per cent, from Rs 1,070 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 1,144.90 crore in 2019-20.
The government, in a statement, said, "The allocation of Rs 56,619 crore made in budget estimates (BE) of 2018-19 for scheduled caste, further increased to Rs 62,474 crore in revised estimates (RE) is proposed to be enhanced to Rs 76,801 crore in BE for 2019-20, an increase of 35.6 per cent over BE of 2018-19."
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said a Welfare Development Board to frame special strategies for the benefit of the hard-to-reach denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities will be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
He said a committee under the NITI Aayog will also be set up to complete the task of identifying denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities not yet formally classified.
The interim Budget for 2019-20 saw an allocation of Rs 39.87 crore for the five national commissions, including the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Backward Classes and National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, as against the allocation of Rs 33.72 for 2018-19.
Allocation for the central scholarships which National Fellowship for SCs, National Fellowship for Other Backward Classes and Economically Backward Classes, National Overseas Scholarship for SCs and OBCs also saw a decline from Rs 500 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 390.50 crore for the upcoming financial year.
A new allocation of Rs 215 crore was made for the Public Sector Undertakings, including the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation and the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation.
Among the other new allocations, Rs 30 crore was earmarked for the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers, Rs 105 crore for Assistance to Voluntary Organisations for Programmes Relating to Aged, Rs 105 crore for the Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse, Rs 5 crore for Integrated Programme for Rehabilitation of Beggars and Rs 1 crore was allocated for Scheme for Transgender Persons.
The Assistance to Voluntary Organisations for OBCs saw an allocation of Rs 30 crore.
The Pre-Matric Scholarship for SC Students saw an increase of allocation from Rs 125 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 355 crore in 2019-20, the Pre-Matric Scholarship for Children of those engaged in unclean occupations and prone to heath hazards saw an allocation of Rs 5 crore.
Schemes for differently abled persons saw an allocation of Rs 1144.90 crore in 2019-20 from Rs 1070 in 2018-19.