Economic Empowerment

Accomplishment of �Inclusive Growth� is also envisaged through economic empowerment of the SCs living in economic backwardness. Available data suggest that 36.8 per cent of rural SCs and 39.9 per cent of urban SCs lived below the poverty line (in 2004-05) in contrast to 16.1 per cent rural non-SC/ST and 16.0 per cent urban non-SC/ST population.

The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSCFDC) was set up in 1989 to provide so loans to Scheduled Castes living below the poverty line (per capita income below Rs.44,500) for taking up income generating self-employment ventures.

The National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) was established on 24th January 1997 for economic development of the scavengers, aimed at providing alternative source of income and employment so as to wean them away from the clutches of the obnoxious practices of manual scavenging. In this case no income limit is fixed for availing financial assistance from the Corporation.

State Scheduled Castes Development Corporations (SCDCs) are functioning since 1978-79. So far, SCDCs have been set up in 27 States and UTs with equity participation of Central and State Government in the ratio of 49:51, for identifying the SC families and motivating them to undertake economic development activities. These Corporations function as the apex level bodies working for SCs, STs and OBCs. They also implement State and Central Government schemes including Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers for providing alternative means of livelihood to Safai Karamcharis engaged in manual scavenging.

In January 2007, the �Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Scavengers (SRMS)� was launched with the objective of rehabilitating 3.42 lakh manual scavengers and their dependents by March, 2009. Scavengers and their dependents (irrespective of their income), who are yet to be provided assistance for rehabilitation under any scheme of Government of India or the State Government are eligible to avail assistance. Main components of the Scheme are skill training and financial assistance ( loan and subsidy) for self-employment, as per following norms : (i) Skill training for a period up to one year, with payment of stipend @ Rs.1,000 per month; (ii) Loan at concessional rate of interest for self employment projects costing upto Rs.5 lakh; and (iii) Capital subsidy @ 50 per cent of the project cost, for projects upto Rs. 25,000 and @ 25 per cent for projects above Rs. 25,000 with a minimum of Rs.12,500 and maximum of Rs. 20,000. An outlay of Rs.350 Crore is provided for the Eleventh Five Year Plan for the SRMS.

Written by princy

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