The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible for welfare and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society, viz. Scheduled Castes (SCs), OBCs, persons with disabilities, the elderly, victims of drug abuse, and transgenders. Note that for welfare of Scheduled Tribes (STs), there is a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- Department of Social Justice and Empowerment
- Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
- Rehabilitation Council of India
- A statutory body responsible for regulating training programmes and courses targeted at disabled people.
- Public Sector Undertakings:
- ALIMCO – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India. It manufactures aids for disabled people.
- NH FDC – National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation – provides financial assistance for income generating activities to disabled people.
- NBC FDC – National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation – to provide financial assistance for employment to OBCs.
- The National Trust: A statutory body for welfare of persons with Autism, mental retardation, and similar disabilities.
Schemes and Initiatives:
- For differently-abled or the persons with disabilities:
- Assistance to Disabled Persons for purchasing aids (ADIP scheme).
- Accessible India Campaign – Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan. It envisages to make services such as websites, govt services and public places more accessible to persons with disabilities.
- UDID – unique disability identification project.
- The Ministry conducts the National Drug Use Survey (or the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India), and implements drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation scheme.
- For the elderly:
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana provides physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to BPL category. It is a central sector scheme, supported by the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund.
- For the marginalised:
- Mahila Samriddhi Yojana provides micro-finance to self-help groups of women belonging to (Safai Karmchari) sanitation workers and scavengers. Upto rupees 50,000 loan per beneficiary is provided through State Channelising Agencies, and Regional Rural Banks.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 made it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by monthly allowance. The Ministry of Social Justice played key role in formulation of this law.
National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is a statutory body, under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017 seeks to give constitutional status to NCBC, and remove the power of NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) is a constitutional body set up under Article 338 of the Constitution. It has powers to look into complaints and welfare measures with regard to Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes, and Anglo-Indians. While investigating any matter, the commission has all powers of a civil court.