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The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible for the welfare and empowerment of certain disadvantaged sections of society such as (i) Scheduled Castes (SC), (ii) Other Backward Classes (OBC), (iii) persons with disabilities, (iv) senior citizens, (v) victims of substance abuse, and (vi) transgender persons. 

The Ministry is composed of two Departments: Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

Table 1: Population of target group of the Ministry

Target group

Population (in crore)

Scheduled Castes

20.14 (17%)

Other Backward Castes

Official census for OBCs has not been conducted since 1931.  NSSO (2009-10) estimated 42% of the population.

Persons with disabilities

2.68 (2%)

Senior citizens

10.36 (8.6%)

Sources: Annual Report 2017-18, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS.

This note presents an overview of the major expenditure heads under the Ministry, and issues relating to them.  

Overview of finances

Budgetary Allocation 2018-19

The total allocated expenditure for the Ministry for 2018-19 is Rs 8,820 crore, 12% higher than the revised estimate of 2017-18.[1] 

Of the total expenditure in 2018-19, Rs 7,750 crore (88%) is allocated towards the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, and Rs 1,070 crore (12%) is allocated towards the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. 

Table 2 shows the split in allocation towards the two departments under the Ministry. 

Table 2: Budgetary allocations (2018-19) (Rs crore)

 

Actuals 2016-17

RE

2017-18

BE

2018-19

% change (RE to BE)

Department of Social Justice

6,516

6,908

7,750

12%

Department of Disabilities

773

955

1,070

12%

Total

7,289

7,863

8,820

12%

Notes: BE – Budget Estimate; RE – Revised Estimate.

Sources:  Union Budget 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS.

The budget estimate in 2018-19, for both the Departments increased by 12% over the revised estimates in 2017-18.  The figure below shows the trend in expenditure from 2009-10 to 2017-18.   

Figure 1: Trend in expenditure (2009-18) (Rs crore)

 Notes: The BE and actuals post 2014-15 are a combination of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.  2017-18.

Sources: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS. 

From the period 2009-10 till 2017-18, the expenditure of the Ministry saw a steady increase.  The only exception was in 2012-13, when the Ministry saw a slight dip of a 2% decrease in expenditure, compared with the previous year.  The period from 2009-10 till 2017-18 saw a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37%.  CAGR is the annual growth rate over a certain period of time. 

Although the allocation to the Ministry has been increasing over the years, it has fallen short of the Ministry’s demand for grants.  For instance, in 2016-17, the Ministry submitted a demand of Rs 10,643 crore, against which the Ministry was allocated Rs 6,566 crore.[2]  Similarly, in 2017-18, the Ministry submitted a demand for Rs 10,356 crore of which it was only allocated Rs 6,908 crore. 

As seen in Figure 2 on the next page, from 2009-10 till 2016-17, there has been an underutilization of allocated monies by the Ministry.  The extent of underutilization has been 18% in 2013-14.  However, in 2016-17 the underutilization was down to 1% and in 2017-18 the Ministry revised estimates expect expenditure to be 1% more than the budgeted allocation.

Figure 2: Trend in utilisation (2009- 2018) (Rs crore)

Notes: The BE and actuals post 2014-15 are a combination of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.  Data for 2017-18 is a revised estimate.

Sources: Union Budget 2009-10 to 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS.

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) noted that one of the reasons for under utilisation could be attributed to lack of expenditure of funds by the North East states.2,[3]  Since 1996, the government has mandated all Ministries to allocate 10% of its expenditure towards the North East states.[4]  The Standing Committee noted that the following reasons could explain the under utilisation by these states: (i) failure by North East states to send their utilisation certificates within time, leading to lapse of funds, and (ii) low demand for funds from these states.2 

Department of Social Justice and Empowerment

The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has been allocated Rs 7,750 crore in 2018-19.  The allocation to the Department increased 12% over the revised estimates of 2017-18.  Table 3 provides the allocation to major heads in the Department. 

Table 3: Major allocation heads (Rs crore)

Expenditure Head

Budgeted 2018-19

Allocation %

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Schedule Castes

5,183

66.9%

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups

1,987

25.6%

Total Central Schemes/ projects

500

6.5%

Others

80

1.0%

Total

7,750

 

Sources: Demand no. 89, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS.

The Umbrella scheme for Development of Scheduled Castes accounts for the highest allocation (66.9%) in the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.  These schemes include the post matric scholarship, and the special central assistance to Scheduled Caste Sub Plan. 

Of the major allocation heads, the schemes specified in Table 4 account for 79.4% of the Department’s allocation in 2018-19.

Table 4: Major expenditure heads in the Department (Rs crore)

 

Actuals 2016-17

RE 2017-18

BE 2018-19

RE to BE change

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Schedule Castes

Post Matric Scholarship

2,799

3,348

3,000

-10.4%

Special Central Assistance

600

800

1,000

25.0%

Enforcement of Civil Rights

223

305

404

32.3%

Venture Capital Fund for SC

40

40

140

250.0%

Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers

0

5

20

300.0%

Umbrella Scheme for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups

Post Matric Scholarship for OBC's

876

885

1,100

24.3%

Pre- Matric Scholarship

129

142

232

63.4%

National Policy for prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) abuse

0

0.01

155

1549900%

Scheme for Development of Economically  Backward Classes

15.12

10

103

930.0%

Notes: BE – Budget Estimate; RE – Revised Estimate.

Sources: Demand no. 89, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS.

  • Post Matric scholarship accounts for 38.7% of the Department’s expenditure. The allocation in 2018-19 decreased by 10.4% over the revised estimate of 2017-18. 
  • The allocation towards the self-employment scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavengers is Rs 20 crore in 2018-19, a significant increase over the revised estimates of 2017-18 (Rs 5 crore). Note that the actuals for 2016-17 indicate that while the budgeted amount for the year was Rs 10 crore, there was no expenditure incurred by the Department on the scheme.   
  • The venture capital fund for SCs has seen a 250% increase in allocation 2018-19 as compared to the revised estimate of 2017-18. It has been allocated Rs 140 crore in 2018-19. 
  • The National Policy for prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (drug) Abuse has seen a major shift in allocation. The revised estimate of 2017-18 for the scheme is Rs 1 lakh.  In 2018-19 it has been allocated Rs 155 crore, a significant increase over the revised estimate of 2017-18. 

Major schemes

Post matric scholarship 

The post matric scholarship scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme.  It aims to provide financial assistance to scheduled caste students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage.  The scholarship will be provided only to those SC students whose parents/guardians’ income is up to Rs 2,50,000 per annum.   

In 2018-19, the scheme has been allocated Rs 3,000 crore, which is a decrease of 10% from the revised estimates of 2017-18 (Rs 3,348 crore).  On an average, the number of beneficiaries under the scheme from 2014-15 to 2016-17 has been 56 lakh per year.[5] 

Budget estimates versus actual expenditure:

Table 5 below shows the trends in allocation and actual expenditure on the scheme from 2012-13 to 2018-19. 

Table 5: Trends in expenditure: Post matric scholarship (Rs crore)

Year

Budgeted

Actuals

% utilised

2012-13

1,500

1,655

110.3%

2013-14

1,500

2,153

143.5%

2014-15

1,500

 1,963

130.9%

2015-16

1,599

 2,214

138.5%

2016-17

2,791

2,799

100.3%

2017-18*

3,348

3,348*

100%

*Revised Estimate.

Sources: Union Budget 2012-13 to 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS. 

Allocation to the scheme has seen an increase over the years.  The overall trend over the years shows over utilisation of funds (actual expenditure is greater than the budget estimates).  In 2013-14, the actual expenditure was 143.5% of the budget estimate.  However, in 2017-18, the revised estimate is equal to the budget estimate.  An over or under utilization of allocated money implies lack of adequate budgeting and resource planning as well as implementation of the scheme. 

Arrears:  The scheme is open ended, with no limit on the number of beneficiaries or amount of fees that can be charged by the educational institutions.[6]  As a result, over the years, states have been submitting proposals for release of funds from the centre, but the central assistance has been lower than the demand.  As a consequence, significant arrears of states and union territories have accumulated under the scheme.2  As on February 8, 2018, there are arrears in the scheme amounting to Rs 6,825 crore, which is 88% of the department’s total allocated budget.

Table 6 shows the central assistance (CA) demanded by states/union territories, and CA released to them under the scheme from 2014-15 up to January 31, 2018. 

Table 6: Central Assistance released (Rs crore)

Year

CA Demanded

CA Released

% Released

2014-15

4,187

1,963

53.8%

2015-16

4,532

2,214

56.8%

2016-17

4,213

2,799

58.6%

2017-18*

2,694

2,507

93%

*Data for 2017-18 not finalized. 

Sources: Starred question no 42, Lok Sabha; PRS.

In 2016-17, only 58.6% of the central assistance demanded was released.  At the end of 2016-17, the accumulated arrears of the scheme exceeded Rs 8,000 crore.  Note that the arrears are in addition to the budgeted allocation for any given year.

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) has recommended that the Ministry should discuss a one-time special package with the Ministry of Finance in order to clear pending arrears.2  Based on the recommendation of the Expenditure Finance Committee, a proposal for additional funds to clear the arrears has been sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.6 

Special Central Assistance

The special central assistance scheme aims to provide support to schemes for economic development of SCs falling below the poverty line.  Under this scheme, 100% grant is given to state and union territories to supplement the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan. 

The budget estimate for 2018-19 towards the scheme is Rs 1,000 crore, an increase of 25% as compared to the revised estimates of 2017-18.  Note that the utilisation of funds is lower than the budget estimate.  

Table 7: Trend in expenditure: Special Central Assistance (Rs crore)

Year

Budgeted

Actuals

% utilised

2012-13

1,200

872

72.7%

2013-14

1,051

790

75.2%

2014-15

1,060

700

66%

2015-16

1,107

800

72.2%

2016-17

800

797

99.7%

2017-18

800

800*

100%

*Revised Estimate. 

Sources: Union Budget 2012-13 to 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS. 

Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers

The Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers was introduced in 2007 for the purpose of rehabilitating manual scavengers and their dependents.  The scheme was revised in November 2013 after the passing of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.  As per the scheme, a manual scavenger is entitled to a one-time cash assistance of Rs 40,000.  In addition, a manual scavenger is also entitled to capital subsidy, interest subsidy, and training under the scheme.

In 2018-19 the scheme has been allocated Rs 20 crore, as compared to Rs 5 crore in the revised estimate of 2017-18.     

Table 8: Allocation towards rehabilitation of manual scavengers (Rs crore)

Year

Budgeted

Actual

% utilised

2010-11

5

0

0.0%

2011-12

98

0

0.0%

2012-13

98

20

20.4%

2013-14

557

35

6.3%

2014-15

439

0

0.0%

2015-16

461

0

0.0%

2016-17

10

0

0.0%

2017-18

5

5*

100.0%

*Revised Estimate. 

Sources: Union Budget 2010-11 to 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; PRS. 

From 2010-11 to 2017-18, there has been zero utilisation of funds in five out of seven years.  This was highlighted by the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17).

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) observed that as per the Census 2011 data, there are approximately 26 lakh insanitary latrines in the country.  However, it noted that the corresponding number of manual scavengers was significantly lower at 12,737 (as of January 31, 2017).  It attributed this to slow progress in the identification of manual scavengers by states and union territories.  It also noted that some states had failed to upload the number of identified manual scavengers on the survey website.  Since the upload is a mandatory requirement for the release of cash assistance, there was no demand made for funds.     

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) recommended that a fresh survey of manual scavengers be carried out.  This will allow for better assessment of fund requirements and result in increased allocation to the department. 

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has been allocated Rs 1,070 crore in 2018-19.  The allocation to the Department increased 12% over the revised estimates of 2017-18.  Table 9 provides the allocation to major heads in the Department. 

Table 9: Major allocation heads (Rs crore)

Expenditure Head

Budgeted 

Allocation %

National Program for Welfare of Persons with Disabilities*

368

34%

Umbrella Program for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups**

300

28%

Autonomous Bodies

257

24%

Others

145

13%

Total

1,070

 

*Includes allocation to the scheme for assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of appliances.

** Includes allocation to the schemes under Persons with Disability Act, 1995.

Sources: Demand no. 90, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities; PRS.

The National Program for Welfare of Persons with Disabilities includes allocation to various schemes including: (i) the scheme for assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of appliances (ADIP Scheme); and (ii) the Deendayal Disability Rehabilitation Scheme.  Of these schemes, the highest allocation is towards the ADIP Scheme (Rs 220 crore; 21% of the total budget). 

The Umbrella Program for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups consists of the schemes under Persons with Disability Act, 2005.  The allocation towards these schemes for implementation of Persons with Disability Act is Rs 300 crore, which comprises 28% of the Department’s allocation.

The Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/ Appliances

The ADIP scheme was launched in 2005 as a central sector scheme.  It provides financial assistance to various agencies (like NGOs and Disability Rehabilitation Centres) so they may assist disabled persons (in need) in procuring aids and appliances.  The scheme received the second highest allocation (21%) in the Department’s budget in 2018-19.3

In 2018-19, the scheme has been allocated Rs 220 crores, which is an increase of 10% from the revised estimate of 2017-18 (Rs 200 crore).

Table 10 provides the trends in allocation and actual expenditure on the scheme from 2014-15 to 2017-18.  

Table 10:Budgeted versus actual expenditure on ADIP (Rs crore)

Year

Budgeted

Actual

% utilised

2014-15

110

101

92.1%

2015-16

125

151

120.4%

2016-17

130

170

130.7%

2017-18

150

200*

133.3%

2018-19

220

-

-

*Revised estimates.

Sources: Report No. 37, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, (2016-17); PRS.

Note that in the past three years, the actual expenditure on ADIP has overshot the budgeted estimates significantly.  In 2016-17, it was 130% and is expected to be 133% in 2017-18. 

Achievement of Target:  In the period from 2014-15 till 2016-17, there has been a trend of increase in the overall expenditure.  However, the department has failed to meet its targets (number of beneficiaries) in these three years. 

The target for number of beneficiaries from 2014-15 to 2016-17, was 2.8 lakh each year.  The target for the government in 2017-18 is 3.5 lakh.[7] 

Table 11 demonstrates the target and the actual number of beneficiaries enrolled.

Table 11: Number of Beneficiaries

Year

Target

Actual

% Underachieved

2014-15

2,80,000

2,39,560

17%

2015-16

2,80,000

2,05,614

36%

2016-17

2,80,000

2,18,975

28%

2017-18

3,50,000

1,08,064*

31%

* Data updated till October 31, 2017.

Sources: Report No. 37, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, (2016-17); Report No. 48, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, (2017-18); Niti Aayog Report on “Three Year Action Agenda”; PRS.

To meet its target of 2017-18, the Department will need to have enrolled at least 2,41,936 additional beneficiaries by the end of 2017-18.  As seen in Table 12 this is a significant increase from the number of beneficiaries enrolled in previous years. 

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2017-18) has noted that several factors have contributed to ineffective implementation of the scheme.  These include: (i) lack of awareness of the scheme among the disabled, and (ii) reliance on old and infrequent census survey to determine the total number disabled persons.[8]  Note that the World Health Organisation estimates that 15% of the population is disabled.[9]  However, as per the last Census of India in 2011, only 2% of the population is classified as disabled and eligible to benefit from the schemes of the Ministry.

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) also observed that the number of beneficiaries across certain states has steadily reduced over a period of time.  It reiterated the need to ensure that more beneficiaries are covered under the scheme.3 

Schemes Arising out of Implementation of Persons with Disability Act, 1995 (SIPDA)

The scheme aims to facilitate implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.  It is a central sector scheme.  The main thrust of the SIPDA is on the Accessible India Campaign launched in 2015.

In 2018-19, the Scheme has been allotted Rs 300 crore, which is an increase of 16% from the revised estimate of 2017-18.  

Table 12 provides details on the amount spent, and the share of total budget allocation utilised under the scheme.

Table 12: Funds utilised for SIPDA (Rs crore)

Year

Budgeted

Actual

% utilised

2014-15

80

43.09

46%

2015-16

135

69.42

49%

2016-17

193

110.71

43%

2017-18

207

257*

-

2018-19

300

-

-

*Revised estimates.

Sources: Report No. 37, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, (2016-17); PRS.

From 2014-15 to 2016-17, the budget allocation towards the SIPDA was underutilised.  In 2016-17, only 43% of the budgetary allocation was utilised.  As per the Department, the majority of the funds are proposed to be utilised towards the Accessible India Campaign. 

Note that in the 2016-17 budgetary allocation, the government had committed to spending Rs 193 crore exclusively on the Accessible India CampaignHowever, the allocation was made to the entire Scheme and no exclusive funds were committed to the Campaign.[10]

Accessible India Campaign:  The Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan) was launched in 2015.  It is the flagship programme of the government, in order to provide barrier-free access to public utility areas (government buildings, airports, roads) for the disabled.  In 2017-18, the Department sought higher allocation for the Scheme (Rs 207 crore), in order to implement the programme.  The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016-17) observed that no efforts have been made to ensure that new infrastructure is made barrier-free at the construction stage itself.3  It noted that this will result in excess spending to convert new infrastructure to barrier-free infrastructure.  

As per the Niti Aayog, the Department will aim to make 10,000 government buildings and 75% of private sector building fully accessible over the next three years, starting from 2017-18.  Further, 75% of government owned public transport and 50% of privately owned transport will also be aimed at being made accessible.7  

As of December 18, 2017, access audit of 1662 buildings in 50 cities has been completed.  Further, 644 out of 709 A1, A, B, category Railway Stations and 12894 buses out of 1,41,572 buses have been provided with accessibility features.[11]  The Department will need to ensure that the target for accessibility is achieved by 2019-20.

 

[1] Demand for Grants 2018-19, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, February 1, 2018. 

[2] 36th Report, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, March 2017.

[3] 37th Report, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, March 2017.

[4] Ministry of Development of North East Region, http://www.mdoner.gov.in/content/rationale.

[5] Unstarred Question no. 761, Rajya Sabha, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, February 8, 2018, http://164.100.158.235/question/annex/245/Au761.pdf.

[6] Unstarred Question no. 2315, Lok Sabha, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, January 2, 2018, http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/13/AU2315.pdf.

[7] “Three Year Action Agenda”, Niti Aayog, August 2017, http://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/coop/IndiaActionPlan.pdf 

[8] 48th Report, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, January 2018.

[9] “World Report on Disability”, World Health Organisation, 2011.

[10] “Increased Budget Allocation to Social Justice Ministry to Boost Social Welfare Schemes”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, March 3, 2016.

[11] “Year End Review of 2017 – M/o Social Justice and Empowerment”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, December 18, 2017.

 

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