Social justice ministry spent 54% of budget on SC scholarships

New Delhi, (IANS) : The central government on Thursday said around 54 per cent of the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry’s budgetary allocation in the year 2016-17, was spent on Scheduled Castes (SC) scholarships.

“In the year 2016-17, almost 54 per cent of the (ministry’s) Budget has been spent on scholarships for the Scheduled Castes and around 60 lakh beneficiaries across several scholarship schemes received this amount through the digital mode,” Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot told media.

He said the ministry had given a “strong push” to digital transactions.

“Around 53 lakh beneficiaries under Backward Class and Other Backward Class categories were given scholarship through the digital mode,” Gehlot said.

“The three corporations of the ministry — National Scheduled Caste Finance Development Corporation (NSFDC), National Backward Class Finance Development Corporation (NBCFDC), and National Safai Karamcharis Finance Development Corporation (NSKFDC) — distributed around Rs 475 crore through digital mode to almost two lakh beneficiaries,” he added.

Gehlot also said the definition of “atrocity” has been widened and amendments were introduced in June 2016 to protect the Scheduled Castes.

“Compensation payable to victims of atrocities has been enhanced and in the previous year 42,541 people were given compensation of Rs 130 crore,” he said.

He also spoke about the steady increase in the ministry’s budgetary allocations since 2014.

“Budget of the ministry has been steadily increasing from Rs 55 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 70 crore in 2017-18. This is an increase of 6 per cent,” he explained.