The State Government has sanctioned Rs. 138.70 crore for a host of schemes aimed at the economic development of Scheduled Castes.

As many as 1,16,800 beneficiaries will be covered under the schemes. The Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (THADCO) is the nodal agency for the implementation of the schemes.

Of the total amount, a sum of Rs.50 crore is released by the Central Government under the programme of Special Central Assistance (SCA). The State Government grants Rs.25 crore under the Special State Assistance Scheme, which covers SCs who have converted to Christianity. The remaining amount is mopped up from various other schemes, according to an official in the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare department.

The Land Purchase Scheme (LPS)/Land Development Scheme (LDS), Self-Help Groups Scheme and the Self Employment Programme for Youth (SEPY) are among the schemes that are designed to improve the economic conditions of the SCs.

The LPS/LDS envisages the enhancement of the socio-economic status of the poor SCs by providing land as an asset or improving it. These two schemes are meant for helping the SCs to improve their performance in agriculture. This year, it has been planned to cover 900 beneficiaries, of whom 400 will receive the government support for land purchase and 500 for land development. The unit cost for the purchase of land is Rs.1 lakh, of which 50 per cent is given as subsidy and 50 per cent as term loan.

Under the SHG scheme, 2,000 SHGs consisting of 30,000 women will be given Rs. 5.5 crore, of which Rs.2 crore will be subsidy and Rs. 3.5 crore bank loan.

Each group will be given a revolving fund subsidy of Rs. 10,000.

This year’s target of beneficiaries under the SEPY is 450. A set of viable self-employment ventures are to be identified in each district in accordance with the local potential and the selected youth in the age group of 18 to 35 years is to be intensively trained.

Among other schemes is the provision of Rs. 25,000 each to 200 SC candidates who pass Civil Services preliminary examination and prepare themselves for the main examination.