OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES

SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT

Organisation.

At the ministerial level, the Department of Social Welfare was constituted after the reorganisation of States from 1st November 1956. It, however, took shape at the Directorate level from September 15, 1957 [ Government Resolution, Labour and Social Welfare Department, No. BCE- 2857-D, dated 23rd September, 1957.]. The backward class welfare work done previously by the Backward Class Department was transferred to the Backward Class Wing of the Social Welfare Department. The other wing of the Social Welfare Department is the Correctional Wing. The designation of the Director of Backward Class Welfare was changed to Director of Social Welfare. He is the head of the Social Welfare Department of the State. The post of the Chief Inspector of Certified Schools and Institutions was redesignated as Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Correctional Wing). He assists the Director of Social Welfare in matters relating to the Correctional Wing. There is another class I post of Special Officer who looks after the work relating to the education and social welfare of physically handicapped. A third post of Deputy Director has also been created under the Social Welfare Department to look after the work relating to both Backward Class Welfare and Correctional Administration. The Backward Class Wing of the Social Welfare Department aims at ameliorating the conditions of Backward Classes so that they reach the standard of other privileged sections of the society.

There are divisional offices for each revenue division which started functioning from June 1, 1961

The Divisional Officers are Class I Officers. At the district level, the department has district officers termed as Social Welfare Officers who are Class II Officers. Their services have been transferred to the Zilla Parishads with the inception of the Parishads. They are responsible to the Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad. They execute the schemes proposed by the Social Welfare Department and co-ordinate the work of backward class welfare in the district in respect of backward class welfare schemes implemented by the various departments of the State. There are seven Area Organisers in charge of certain zones in respect of tribal welfare work in Vidarbha Division. They arc all Class II Officers of the status of Social Welfare Officers. Their duties pertain to the tribal welfare schemes in their respective zones.

Backward Classes.

The Backward Classes are classified into three broad categories, viz-., (1) the Scheduled Castes or Harijans, (2) the Sche- duled Tribes or Adivasis. and (3) the Other Backward Classes. who are neither Scheduled Castes nor Scheduled Tribes but socially, economically and educationally as backward as the other two categories. The communities coming under the first two categories are notified by the Government of India under the orders of the President for each of the States in the Indian Union. The communities coming under other backward classes and recognised by the State differ in the component units of the State. [Government Resolution, Labour and Social Welfare Department, No. CBC-1769-E, dated 18-5-59.] However, the classification of other backward classes based on communities does not exist now. A new category of other backward classes based on income, including in it, persons whose income was less than Rs. 900 came to be recognised. From 1960-61, this income limit was further increased to Rs. 1.200 per annum. This new class of other backward classes enjoys the facility of free education at all stages.

In view of the policy of the Government to ameliorate the conditions of backward classes so as to bring them on par with other sections of the population, a number of privileges are granted to backward classes by the Constitution of India. Special grants are also made every year by Government of India, under article 275 (i). Besides normal concessions made available to backward classes from time to time, special schemes are framed for Backward Classes by the State Government under the Five-Year Plans and these are being implemented vigorously.

Measures of uplift

The disabilities of Backward Classes are threefold, educational, economical and social. The Government have, therefore,  launched a three-pronged drive to eliminate these disabilities within the shortest possible time.

In the educational sphere the Government provides many facilities to the backward class students such as general concessions of freestudentship, payment of examination fees, etc. Balwadis are also opened along with samskar kendras for the benefit of the scheduled castes, the vimukta jatis and the nomadic and the semi-nomadic tribes.

On the economic front the problem is that of economic rehabilitation. It is to be realised through (i) grant of cultivable waste lands and other facilities such as supply of plough and bullocks, implements, seeds, etc., (ii) establishing training centres for imparting training in hereditary crafts and providing financial help for their rehabilitation in various cottage industries, (in) imbibing the co-operative spirit in their day-to-day life, (iv) introducing special measures for housing of backward classes, and (v) reserving certain percentage of vacancies for backward classes in service under the State Government and local bodies and under semi-Government organisations.

On the social side the activity is designed to remove the stigma of untouchability in respect of scheduled castes, assimilation of scheduled tribes in the general population without destroying their hereditary traits and rehabilitation of ex-criminal tribes and nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes from among the category of other backward classes. Legislations as well as propoganda through the voluntary agencies are the means used to achieve this object. Mention may be made here of the Untouchability Offences Act, 1955. passed by the Government of India to stop the practice of observance of untouchability.

With the liberal assistance of the Central Government under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution of India, amounting to 50 per cent of the expenditure incurred by the State Government in this behalf, various measures are undertaken by the State Government for the uplift of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, vimukta jatis and other backward classes under the Five- Year Plans. These measures are framed after taking into consi- deration the felt needs of these sections of the backward classes and with a view to achieving their economic uplift and settlement and removal of their social disabilities. The Third Five-Year Plan provides for a programme of Backward Class Welfare with a total outlay of Rs. 5.61 crores for the Maharashtra State. Resides this, the Government of India has also sponsored on cent per cent basis a special programme amounting to Rs. 3.53 crores for the welfare of backward classes in the Maharashtra State which includes the opening of 18 multipurpose projects in scheduled areas of the State, along with other measures for the welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and vimukia jatis.

In the implementation of these backward class welfare measures advice and co-operation is also sought from eminent social workers and voluntary organisations through the State Board for Harijan Welfare and the State Tribes Advisory Council.

Set-up in the District

In the year 1954, an independent Directorate was established at the State level to carry out the social welfare activities in the then Madhya Pradesh State of which Amravati district was an integral part. Thus an independent office of the District Wel fare Officer was started at every district headquarters to carry out all the social welfare activities. These activities were to be carried out irrespective of caste and creed. Importance was mainly given to the literacy of adults and improvement in the working of gram panchayats. All the welfare activities were to be executed through the agency of the gram panchayat. Pro grammes for the welfare of Scheduled Castes were also specially undertaken by the gram panchayats by observance of the Harijan week and removal of untouchability by opening public places like wells and temples to the Harijans. An Independent Minister was in charge of this Department at the State level. The Director was the executive head of the department and was assisted by three Assistant Directors. At the Divisional level, one Divisional Welfare Officer was appointed for the Division composed of four districts to look after the working of the departmental activities at the district level and also to report to the Director about the ways and means to remove the difficulties in the way of implementing the schemes which were newly introduced through the gram panchayats. For tribal welfare activities there was a Regional Officer who supervised tribal welfare activities and controlled the staff of Area Organisers from the scheduled areas. One District Social Welfare Officer for each district headquarters with radio assistant at divisional Social Welfare Officer. He was assisted by one Social Welfare Inspector for each tahsil of the district with his headquarters at the tahsil place, one village assistant for the group of every three panchayats, one radio mechanic and battery attendant at each district headquarters with one radio assistant at divisional  headquarters. The adult literacy classes were conducted with  the help of primary teachers or any voluntary worker on the  basis of an honorarium at the rate of Rs. 10 per month for each  class of 20 adults.

Welfare of the scheduled tribes was undertaken by an independent office established under the Area Organiser, Tribal Welfare, from 1948 in some of the districts of the former Madhya Pradesh State. Amravati was one of those districts where an independent Area Organiser with his headquarters at Achalpur was appointed to implement the schemes for the welfare of scheduled tribes. Besides the ministerial staff the Area Organiser was assisted by Circle Organisers in his work.

During the First Five-Year Plan there were two centres one at Dharni and the other at Chikhaldara. At each one of the centres was a Stock-man, a Dai and Circle Organisers. Veterinary cases were also looked after. This medical aid served the primary necessity of the tribals in a limited area around the centres and round about villages.

After November 1. 1956, the District Welfare Officer was designated as Social Welfare Officer. He heads the district office and is assisted by Social Welfare Inspectors whose strength is fixed for each district on the basis of the schemes implemented in the district. The eight districts of the Vidarbha region are placed under the control of one Divisional Social Welfare Officer for general supervision and overall control.

The Social Welfare Officer works as a liaison officer between the backward classes and various departments of the State Government. He is to see that fullest benefit of all the legislations is accorded to backward classes and that they derive the maximum concessions sanctioned.

Measures of uplift, Education

The uplift of the backward classes is sought to be achieved in  various ways. First of all special facilities are given to them  for receiving education at all stages. They get freeships, examination fees and scholarships. Provision for overseas scholarships is also made. The total expenditure on the educational schemes for backward classes was Rs. 13,37,835 in the district for the year 1961-62.

Under the educational activities, the department conducted 48 primary schools and one middle school with a hostel attached to it. At this hostel stipend at the rate of Rs. 20 per month for a student belonging to backward class was given. Scholarships to tribal boys attending schools and colleges were arranged from the regional office.

The total number of teachers was 103 and in all about 2,500 boys and girls belonging mostly to scheduled tribes were on the roll. For giving encouragement to boys and girls of tribal areas, provision of midday meals and clothing is made in schools. These schools are also provided with medical aid, medicine chests, etc., for treating common ailments.

Hostels.

In addition grants are given to the voluntary agencies working in the sphere of hostel management. There are 12 hostels in the district which have received grant-in-aid to the tune of Rs. 1,77,001. These hostels accommodated 381 students. There are 12 hostels in the district opened by the voluntary agencies as shown below. They receive grant-in-aid from the Social Welfare Department. The hostel inmates are provided with lodging, boarding and other essential amenities.

Name of the Hostel and Location Adarsha Vidyarthi Griha, Amravati Shri Ram Education Society Hostel, Takar-kheda Sambhu. Depressed Class Students Hostel, Warud Harijan Vasatigriha, Morshi Shri Gurudeo Backward Classes Hostel, Mozari. Dallitodhar Boarding, Paratwada Ogale Smarak Vasatigriha, Amravati Vidarbha Adiwasi Hostel, Achalpur Camp Adiwasi Hostel, Amravati Adiwasi Hostel, Shendurjana Ghat Lok-Sewa Chhatralaya, Chikhaldara Kasturba Kanyashram, Madhan

Name oj the Voluntary Agency The Adarsha Vidyarthi Griha, Amravati. Shri Ram Education Society, Takar-kheda Sambhu. The Depressed Classes League, Nagpur. Vidarbha Harijan Sewak Sangh, Morshi. Shri Gurudeo Sewa Mandal, Mozari. Dallitodhar Boarding, Paratwada. Vidarbha Harijan Education Society. Vidarbha Adiwasi Sewa Mandal, Achalpur Camp. Adiwasi Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Yeotmal. Do. Lok-Sewa Chhatralaya, Chikhaldara. Kasturba Memorial Trust, Madhan, tahsil Achalpur.

Reservation of Posts in state Services.

Article 16 (4) of the Constitution empowers State Governments to provide for the reservation of posts for any section of the backward class community which in the opinion of the State Government is not adequately represented in the services under the State. In the ex-Madhya Pradesh State this provision was fully utilised for the betterment of the backward classes by reserving 15 per cent of class I, II, III and IV services for backward classes and 15 per cent for scheduled tribes.

The same provision was continued after the reorganization and then after bifurcation. The principle of reservation was made applicable to the local bodies also in the year 1959. To properly implement this principle the Social Welfare Officer works as Employment Officer and is entrusted with the task of enrolment of Backward Class candidates. The maximum age-limits prescribed for appointment to Class III and Class IV Services and posts under the relevant recruitment rules are relaxable by five years for candidates belonging to the Backward Class.

Housing.

The backward classes are also provided with housing accommodation by the grant of loan for the purchase of suitable building sites for individual construction or for co-operative societies of the backward classes. Besides giving loans for the new houses, the Government have envisaged schemes granting aid for repairs to old houses. The residential localities of the backward classes in rural areas are unhealthy. This scheme is  implemented on the recommendations of the Central Advisory  Board for Harijans and of the Government of India, Ministry  of Home Affairs. At present under Post-War reconstruction  scheme No. 219. Backward Class Housing Societies are eligible to receive financial assistance up to 75 per cent of the cost of  construction, limited to 37 1/2 per cent of the cost according to  the different ceilings by way of interest-free loan repayable in 25 years and 37 1/2 per cent of the cost by way of subsidy in respect of scheduled tribes and 50 per cent loan and 25 per cent subsidy in respect of scheduled castes. In addition to this, interest-free loan for development purposes up to 15 per cent of the ceiling is also given to backward class co-operative societies. Management expenses are also given by way of subsidies. Free grant of land is made under this scheme.

In addition the scheme of mixed colonisation is also formulated. Under this scheme it is incumbent upon each colony to allocate at least 10 per cent for non-backward class families.

Every individual is given a grant-in-aid to the tune of Rs. 100. Under the centrally sponsored programme, grants are also made available to the individual backward class families to construct houses. According to this programme Rs. 750 are paid as grant-in-aid to individual backward class families for construction of house.

Economic Regeneration

The economic regeneration of the backward classes is promoted by various means. With a view to improving the technique . of the hereditary occupations of these classes, Government have started training classes in various occupations through the agency of block officials. Till 1962, 75 trainees belonging to backward classes had been trained and the Government spent a sum of Rs. 1,42,407 towards the cost of training. The Government awards stipends and scholarships to the backward class artisans. After training them, they are encouraged to organise industrial co-operatives and help is given in the form of loan and subsidy. Individual backward class artisan can also take advantage of similar financial assistance. Cooperative farming societies of backward classes get State help in the form of loan-cum-subsidies and land free of revenue. The Government also desired to ensure stability to the Backward Classes in the profession in which they were engaged such as cattle breeding and dairy farming, poultry, etc. The State Government have, therefore, formulated the schemes of loan-cum-subsidy for the purchase of tows and buffaloes and goats or poultry. They are also given plough, bullock, seeds and implements on grant-in-aid basis. The expenditure incurred as aid given to Backward Class on loan-cum-subsidy basis amounted to Rs. 73.250 till 1962.

social uplift.

Measures are taken to ensure the social uplift of the backward classes, especially the Harijans. The Bombay Harijan (Removal of Social Disabilities) Act (XXXVI of 1947) as amended in 1948 has been enacted with a view to bringing about complete removal of untouchability as far as public and civic rights are concerned. These provisions were made applicable to Amravati district from July 1, 1958.

With the above end in view the following schemes have been formulated by the State Government. Mixed hostels where backward classes and caste Hindu-boys live together are recog- nised for grant-in-aid. The work of removal of untouchability and propaganda is also done through the agency of Harijan Sewak Sangh which have employed pracharaks for the purpose.

To strike down the barriers of untouchability Government encourages inter-caste marriages by giving a public reception to the couple which is attended by the Collector, important officials and prominent social workers. For such celebrations grants to the tune of Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 are sanctioned. So far five inter-caste marriages have taken place in the district.

The lands of the tribals are protected by the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, sub-section (2) of section 152. Under this section the right of the tenure holder cannot be transferred without the prior permission of the Collector. The notification issued by the old Madhya Pradesh State in 1955 to the effect is still in force.

The problem of distributing cultivable and forest land to needy persons was attended to, and in 1960, the then Bombay Government issued orders regarding the priorities of distribution in which backward classes ranked very high. During the year 1960-61, 26,528.310 hectares (65,502 acres) of land were distributed to 8,526 backward class families.

Recreational Activities.

A cultural squad of seven artists (kalakars) is maintained in each district to stage dramas, dialogues, songs, powadas, etc., through which the importance of various schemes implemented by the department is impressed upon the villagers. In each month at least 10 programmes are arranged in the rural areas by the cultural squad. Similarly cinema shows are also arranged at the places where programmes are given by the cultural squads. Documentary films and full length feature pictures supplied by the department are shown to the villagers.

Besides these schemes, the physical welfare activities are also encouraged by the department. This is done through aid to physical welfare institutions run by voluntary agencies. Mahila mandals. music, dance and drama schools and sewing classes run by voluntary agencies are given proportionate grant-in-aid on the basis of the expenditure incurred on recurring and nonrecurring items of expenditure by them.

Under the Second Five-Year Plan 15 primary schools and 2 middle schools with a capacity for 40 students each at Churni and Sadrabadi were opened. Thus in Melghat scheduled area of Amravati district, in 1962-63 there were 63 primary schools and 3 middle schools with hostels attached to them. There were 3,350 students in these schools.

Under the centrally sponsored schemes construction of houses  and wells was undertaken. In 1962 construction of 85 houses  and 13 wells was completed. In the same way assistance is  given in the form of housing aid. supply of milch cattle, cottage  industry aid, supply of seeds, plough, bullocks, etc., to improve  the condition of the standard of living of the backward classes.  With a view to eliminate the middle man and to give the benefit of cheap prices to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes five co-operative societies were registered. Under the scheme of legal aid to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes the beneficiary was given free legal aid during the year 1960-61.

Since the formation of the Zilla Parishad all these activities are carried out by the Zilla Parishad under the guidance of the department in the State sector.

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