Isolation, exclusion and occupational subjugation are major obstacles in "mainstreaming" SCs, STs, OBCs, safai karamcharis and the denotified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in the socio-economic development of the country, the NITI Aayog said.
It recommended setting up a permanent commission for nomadic, denotified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes along the lines of the National Commission for SCs and STs.
In its 'Strategy for New India @75' document released on Wednesday, the Aayog highlighted governance, including lack of inter-ministerial convergence and suboptimal targeting of beneficiaries, as another major issue.
Resources are thinly distributed among a large number of schemes, especially under the scheduled caste sub-plan (SCSP) and tribal sub-plan (TSP), instead of among a few targeted schemes, the document stated.
Limited awareness about the schemes resulting in leakages and denial of benefits was yet another major constraint in the socio-economic development of these groups, the Niti Aayog document stated.
Mainstreaming these groups has also been hampered by the inability to incorporate specific cultural and social requirements of SC and ST groups while designing interventions, it said.
As a way forward, the government think tank has pitched for designing schemes that are tailored and narrowly focused on the challenges and needs of specific communities and institutionalising social audits for assessing the impact of these schemes on the basis of quantifiable benefits to targeted households.
It called for undertaking a baseline survey and target remote and tribal habitations for implementation of various development programmes.
The document stresses on putting in place mechanisms to regularly monitor the implementation of legislations such as the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act and Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
In the field of education, the Aayog suggested setting up residential schools in uncovered blocks and districts with facilities for vocational training, and called for increasing the number of scholarships provided under the pre-matric, post-matric, National Fellowship and National Overseas Scholarship schemes for SCs, STs and OBCs.
For economic empowerment, it has suggested expanding the Stand-Up India scheme to include uncovered social groups like OBCs, nomadic, denotified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes and extending venture capital funds and credit guarantee schemes for covering them.
It called for covering a larger number of beneficiaries under various finance and development schemes with an annual increase of 10 per cent.
In the document, the Niti Aayog recommended providing concessional loans for promoting entrepreneurship among the OBCs by doubling the number of beneficiaries covered under the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation by 2022-23.
It also suggested encouraging indigenous tribal medicine alongside other systems to create additional livelihood opportunities.
"Provide project-based funding under special central assistance to SCSP and to TSP, especially in gram panchayats and blocks where the population of SCs and STs is more than 25 per cent.
"Prioritise vulnerable groups like tribal children under the National Nutrition Mission through tag-tracking and additional home visits for underweight children conducted by frontline workers," the document released by the Niti Aayog said.
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