As per 2011 Census, SCs accounted for 201.4 million (16.6 per cent); STs 104.3 million (8.6 per cent); Minorities 244.6 million (20.20 per cent); Persons with Disabilities 26.8 million (2.21 per cent); and Aged 96.8 million (8 per cent).
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Post-Matric Scholarship (PMS) to SC Students, involving 100 per cent central assistance to States over and above their earlier committed liability, has been accorded a high priority during the Eleventh Plan. These scholarships are awarded to all eligible SC students to pursue studies beyond matriculation and in all courses. A total of 38 lakh SC students are being benefitted under the scheme during the first three years (2007-08 to 2009-10) of the Eleventh Plan. Under the revised Post-Matric Scheme, an amount of Rs. 1269.73 crore has been released to states out of the BE of Rs.1500 crore. The number of beneficiaries during 2012-13 is estimated at 40 lakh.
The scheme of Pre-Matric Scholarships for the children of those engaged in unclean occupations launched in 1977-78 is another important scheme to provide financial assistance to children of the parents engaged in unclean occupations (i.e., as scavengers, tanners, layers and sweepers). The scheme was revised in December 2008, bringing about a change in the pattern of Central assistance from 50:50 to 100 per cent Central assistance to the State/ UT Government over and above their committed liability. An amount of Rs. 777 crore had been released to states up to 31December 2012 against an allocation of Rs. 824 crore for 2012-13 for scholarships to an estimated 35 lakh beneficiaries.
The scheme of Hostels for Scheduled Caste Girls and Boys launched in 1961-62 and revised during 1997-98, was re-named as 'Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana' in 2008-09. In order to promote education among SC girls, 100 per cent Central assistance is provided for construction of new hostel buildings and for expansion of existing girls, hostels by the Central Government for universities of States and UTs. Central assistance is also extended to NGOs and Deemed Universities to the extent of 90 per cent for expansion of the existing girls' hostels. Funding pattern for boys' hostels continues to be on a 50:50 sharing basis between the State and Central Government, whereas UTs receive 100 per cent Central assistance. It is envisaged to have additional Hostel capacity of 2 Lakh seats for SC students with a minimum of 50 per cent for SC girls.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Coaching and Allied Scheme for Weaker Sections including SCs and OBCs are being implemented since 1961-62 and 1997-1998, respectively, to provide quality coaching for Group A & B services under the Central and State Governments. The Scheme is implemented through Government and reputed private coaching institutions/Universities. Students belonging to SCs and OBCs having family income of less than Rs. 2 lakh per annum are eligible to be the beneficiaries under the scheme. Expenditure under the scheme is low since in the first three years of the Eleventh Plan only Rs.10.70 Crore (46.52 per cent) is utilized against the allocation of Rs. 23 Crore for the Plan as a whole.
A new Central Sector scheme of Top Class Education for SC students was introduced in 2007-08. Under Top Class Education, eligible students who secure admission in notified institutions like the IITs, IIMs, and NITs, are provided full financial support for meeting the requirements of tuition fees, living expenses, books, and computers.
Yet another scheme, i.e., Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) for SC students was launched in 2006 with an objective to provide financial assistance to the SC students who are pursuing M.Phil. and Ph.D. Under this scheme, 1,333 fellowships are annually provided to SC beneficiaries. The scheme is implemented through University Grants Commission (UGC). is Fellowship was increased to 2000 students in 2010'11.
The National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) scheme for SC students for pursuing higher studies abroad leading to Master-level courses and Ph.D. programme in specific field of Engineering, Technology and Science, was implemented as a non-Plan scheme in 1954-55. In the year 2007, the scheme was converted to as Central Sector Plan scheme under the Eleventh Plan with certain amendments raising the number of scholarship awards to 30 and income ceiling of Rs. 25,000/- per month.