Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced the budget provisions of about ₹85,000 crore for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Other Backward Castes and another ₹53,700 crore for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.
These numbers aren’t easily comparable because they are drawn from spends across ministries.
“This government is mindful of the concerns of senior citizens and Divyang (persons with disabilities). Accordingly, an enhanced allocation of about ₹9,500 crore is being provided for 2020-21”, she said.
The allocation for the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities was ₹1,204.90 crore in 2019-20.
At a pre-budget interaction held on January 10, some of the suggestions presented to Sitharaman by her party colleagues included sops for scheduled tribes and castes — such as increasing the scholarship amount for SC/ST students; asking nationalised banks to offer loans to five SCs instead of just one for green field projects under the ‘Stand-Up India’ scheme.
In February 2019, the then interim finance minister Piyush Goyal announced a 35.6% increase in allocation for welfare of scheduled castes from ₹56,619 crore in FY 2018-19 to ₹76,801 crore in FY 2019-20. The allocation under the Scheduled Tribes component was increased 28% from ₹39,135 crore in 2018-19 to ₹50,086 crore in 2019-20.
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