SC, ST education schemes will continue

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The 11th Five-Year Plan proposes to continue with redoubled efforts at provision of educational facilities to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and minorities.

The Planning Commission's approach paper says education is the most effective instrument of social empowerment and educational schemes for these sections will therefore have to be continued with redoubled vigour.

It is imperative to promote education among other backward sections including minorities. Some minorities are far behind the national average and it is necessary to go to the root of the problem so that remedial measures can be taken during the Plan period.

At a minimum, the minority-dominated areas will need special focus under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and schemes for creating infrastructure should be implemented there. In addition, incentivising minority students should be explored.

While bringing the SC, ST and other backward classes up to the national level may take time, certain aspects of backwardness need to be set right immediately. Manual scavenging should be totally eliminated by the middle of the Plan period, through liberation and rehabilitation of conservancy workers in sustainable employment and income generating activities.

A comprehensive national policy to ensure protection, all-round development, welfare and empowerment of tribals with emphasis on rehabilitation and resettlement of the project-affected people needs to be announced and effectively implemented.