1. Constitutional Provisions:
1. Article 341 deals with the criteria for identification of scheduled castes. Article 342 deals with Scheduled Tribes.
2. Article 17 abolished practice of untouchability in any form.
3. Articles 14, 15 , 16 and 16(4) place them in equal position with other members and entrust state to make special provisions.
4. Article 38 enjoins the state to promote the welfare of people by ensuring justice in society.
5. Article 46 entrusts the state to promote the educational and economic interests of scheduled caste.
6. 65th Amendment Act, 1990 provided for National Commission for SCs and STs. But, recently there has been bifurcation of the commission to deal exclusively with one category.
2. Legal Enactments:
1. Untouchability offences Act 1995.
2. Protection of Civil Rights Act 1975.
3. SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
3. Development Measures:
1. Book Bank Scheme
2. Girls Hostel and Boys Hostel Schemes
4. Scheduled Caste Development Corporation
5. Separate plan of Action for Primitive Tribe
6. Tribal sub plan strategy to provide legal and administrative support and promote their development.
It is to be noted that mere constitutional provisions or legal safeguards are not adequate in themselves. As Ambedkar observed “on 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions in political life we will have equality and in social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one vote if we continue to deny it for long, we shall do so only by pushing our political democracy in peril.
We must remove these contradictions at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.”
4. Critical Evaluation:
Despite numerous safeguards and proactive measures, the Dalits continue to suffer psychological as well as material disadvantages. Since 1990’s India is adjusting to requirements of Globalization.
There has been attempt at deregulation, disinvestment and privatization. The scope and ambit of welfare measures have been; narrowed down.
Investments in social sectors are to be cut down. The efficiency and economy which have become watchword in neo-liberal regimes h resulted in lack of opportunity available to Dalits; They find themselves in traumatic situation.
There is need to provide avenues of imparting technical knowledge and management skill to Dalits. This can be done by both; special institutions and empowerment measures. For, some time the entry of private firm should be restricted to enter into unorganized sector.