Welfare of the poor and downtrodden and improvement in the socio-economic status of the weaker sections of the society is the sole aim of all the policies and programmes of the State Government. The State Government is implementing several schemes for the welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. About 33 percent of the total State Budget is being spent on the Social Services Sector.
Soon after taking over the reins of State, the State Government was enhanced Social Security Pension from Rs. 450 to Rs. 500. Social security pension for those above 80 years of age has been enhanced from Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000 per month. 17,355 pending cases of pensions were approved during this period, which reflects the commitment of the present Government for serving the vulnerable sections of the society, particularly the disabled and the elderly.The State Government is providing a grant of Rs. 75,000 to houseless people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward lasses, whose annual income is less than Rs. 17000 and have land in their name in revenue record for constructing a house. Earlier, an amount of Rs. 48,500 was being provided for construction of house to the eligible person. Provision of Rs. 1740.54 lakh has made under this scheme during the current financial year 2013-14.
The Government was also providing Rs 10 lakh each for creating infrastructural facilities in Harijan Bastis under the Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojna, in villages having more than 40 per cent Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population. Under this scheme, two villages were being selected in every assembly constituency of the State, except four Vidhan Sabha segments of Solan and Sirmaur district and Shimla Urban constituency.
With an objective to provide better career opportunities to the candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes in private and Government sector, the State Government is providing computer training to them. A new scheme has been launched for the candidates of BPL families amongst Scheduled Castes having annual income less than Rs 60,000. Under the scheme, a provision has been made to provide training in computer applications. The Government is bearing the training cost of Rs.1200 per month per candidate and providing a stipend of Rs 1000 per month during the course of training. The Government is also ensuring that after successful completion of the training, the candidates are placed for six months in various Government offices for gaining proficiency. During this period, a sum of Rs. 1500 is being provided to them as stipend.
The Government is well aware of the hardships being faced by people living in tribal areas, a budgetary provision of Rs 369 crore had been made for the year 2013-14 under the Tribal Area Sub Plan, which is 11 percent more than the previous year allocation. A total sum of Rs. 764 crore has been earmarked in the budget, which include plan as well as non plan allocations.
With a view to eradicate the evil of untouchablity from the society, the State Government is leaving no stone unturned for encouraging inter-caste marriages. A cash award of Rs 50000 is being provided to the couples opting inter-caste marriage. Earlier, a sum of Rs, 25,000 was being given under this scheme. A sum of Rs 62.19 lakh has been earmarked in the budget to promote such marriages during this fiscal year.
Scheduled Castes Development Corporation has been established for welfare and development of the Scheduled Castes communities. The Corporation is providing soft loans at the low interest rate of 4 to 7 percent, with the active cooperation of major Banks. A budget allocation of Rs. 745 lakh has been made under this scheme during the current financial year.