PRADHAN MANTRI ANUSUCHIT JAATI ABHUYDAY YOJANA (PM- AJAY)
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Context: Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhuyday Yojana (PM-AJAY) is implemented to reduce poverty among Scheduled Caste (SC) communities by generating additional employment opportunities through skill development, income-generating schemes, and various initiatives.
Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhuyday Yojana (PM-AJAY)
- PM-AJAY is a comprehensive scheme by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the primary goal of uplifting Scheduled Caste (SC) communities by addressing poverty and improving socio-economic indicators.
- The scheme launched in the financial year 2021-22, consolidates three centrally sponsored schemes:
- Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY)
- Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCA to SCSP)
- Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana (BJRCY)
The Scheme has three components:
Development of SC Dominated Villages into "Adarsh Gram"
●This component focuses on the transformation of villages predominantly inhabited by Scheduled Castes into models or "Adarsh Grams."
●The aim is to improve the overall living conditions, infrastructure, and quality of life in these villages.
Grants-in-Aid for District/State-Level Projects
●This component provides grants-in-aid for projects at the district and state levels that are designed to enhance the socio-economic well-being of the Scheduled Castes.
●The projects may include various initiatives, such as the construction of hostels or residential schools, comprehensive livelihood projects that involve skill development, infrastructure development, and financial assistance for loans used by beneficiaries to generate income and assets.
Construction of Hostels in Educational Institutions
●Under this component, hostels are constructed in higher educational institutions that are highly ranked according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of the Government of India.
●Additionally, hostels may be constructed in schools funded, either fully or partially, by the Central, State, or Union Territory governments, subject to recommendations from the Ministry of Education. This aims to provide better access to education for students from Scheduled Castes.
Objectives of the Adarsh Gram (formerly known as the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana)
- Adequate Infrastructure: The program aims to provide the entire necessary infrastructure required for socio-economic development in SC-dominated villages. This infrastructure may include roads, schools, healthcare facilities, clean drinking water, sanitation, and other amenities that contribute to improving the overall quality of life in these villages.
- Improvement in Socio-Economic Indicators: The scheme seeks to address and improve socio-economic indicators, often referred to as monitorable indicators. The primary goal is to reduce disparities between SC and non-SC populations and raise the level of these indicators to at least the national average. Some specific socio-economic indicators that are to be improved include:
- Food and Livelihood Security for BPL SC Families: The program aims to ensure that all Below Poverty Line (BPL) SC families have access to adequate food and livelihood opportunities. This includes measures to alleviate poverty and enhance income-generating activities for SC families.
- Education for SC Children: The objective is to ensure that all SC children complete their education at least up to the secondary level. This focus on education is crucial for breaking the cycle of poverty and improving opportunities for SC youth.
- Maternal and Infant Mortality: The scheme aims to address factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality rates in SC communities. Improved healthcare, prenatal care, and access to medical services are part of this objective.
- Elimination of Malnutrition: Particularly among children and women, the program aims to eliminate malnutrition in SC communities. This includes ensuring access to proper nutrition and healthcare to combat malnutrition-related health issues.
By focusing on these objectives, the Adarsh Gram Component aims to uplift and empower SC communities, eliminate disparities, and improve the overall quality of life for Scheduled Caste individuals and families in SC-majority villages in India.
Grants-in-aid for District/State-level Projects for Socio-Economic Betterment of SCs
- The Grants-in-aid for District/State-level Projects for Socio-Economic Betterment of SCs is a scheme aimed at promoting the socio-economic development of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in India.
- This scheme encompasses various types of projects with a focus on improving the livelihoods and overall well-being of SCs.
Types of Projects
Comprehensive Livelihood Projects: These projects aim to create a holistic ecosystem for generating sustainable income and social advancement for the Scheduled Castes. They may involve a combination of the following elements:
●Skill Development: Providing skill development courses in line with the norms of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
●Related Facilities and Infrastructure: Supporting the infrastructure and facilities needed for conducting skill development activities by the government.
●Grants for Asset Creation/Acquisition: Projects should have provisions for acquiring or creating assets that are necessary for livelihood generation. Financial assistance, in the form of loans, may be provided to beneficiaries for such asset acquisition or creation, with a maximum limit of Rs. 50,000 or 50% of the asset cost, whichever is lower, per beneficiary or household.
●Infrastructure Development: Developing infrastructure related to the project, including hostels and residential schools.
●Other Infrastructure Development: This component encompasses various infrastructure development projects in SC-majority villages that are designed to uplift the socio-economic conditions of these areas.
●Up to 15% of the total grants are allocated exclusively for viable income-generating economic development schemes or programs for SC women.
●Up to 30% of the total grants are earmarked for infrastructure development.
●At least 10% of the total funds are dedicated to skill development initiatives.
●The scheme also aims to promote SC women cooperatives engaged in the production and marketing of consumer goods and services.
- The Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhuyday Yojana (PM-AJAY) is a comprehensive initiative in India aimed at uplifting and empowering Scheduled Castes. Through various components, it focuses on infrastructure development, skill enhancement, and socio-economic improvements. PM-AJAY plays a vital role in reducing disparities and enhancing the quality of life for SC communities, making significant strides in the process.
Q. What is the current status of socio-economic development and welfare of Scheduled Castes (SC) in India? How are government programs and policies addressing the specific needs and disparities within the SC communities, and what challenges do they face in achieving equality and empowerment?