December 2020 Yojana Magazine Issue: Indian Society

Yojana Magazine is an important source of material for the UPSC exam. The monthly magazine provides details of major government schemes and programmes in various domains. Moreover, coming from the government, it is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Yojana, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Editorial: Welfare State

Through the Directive Principles of State Policy, the Constitution of India laid out the social and economic conditions under which the citizens can lead a good life. These Principles also establish social and economic democracy through a welfare state. Articles 38, 41, 46 and 47 in Part IV of the Constitution are especially relevant in this regard. Article 38 directs the State to secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people, Article 41 deals with the right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases. Article 46 aims for the promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections, and Article 47 lays down it as a duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.

Equity and equality, both concepts have fairness as a basis, but through different means. An equitable society is something which the vision of Sarvodaya – Welfare of All, Antyodaya – Reaching the last mile, and Sabka Vikas call for.

  • There is a large section of marginalised communities, which mainly include scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, senior citizens, differently-abled, nomadic, semi-nomadic, transgender persons and beggars.
  • Since independence, society and governments have been making sustained efforts at every level to mainstream them.
  • The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was constituted to enable the same.
  • Lack of facilities and opportunities for individuals prevents them from developing their full potential and capabilities.
  • India still faces a long road ahead in its quest to achieve Zero Hunger.
  • India’s priority now is to return attention to agriculture and its central role of providing food security, reducing poverty and generating employment.
  • Public policy shifting towards the social model of disability is the new way forward for building disability-inclusive societies.

The world is going through an unprecedented crisis owing to Covid-19. It becomes even more imperative to build an inclusive society through educational, economic and social development, and rehabilitation wherever necessary.

Chapter 1: Welfare of Marginalised Communities

A marginalised population is a group of individuals or a particular cluster, who, due to various reasons, is socially, economically and educationally marginalised and thus deprived of joining the mainstream society. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was constituted to enable the marginalised sections of society comprising SCs, STc, differently-abled, beggars, etc. to join mainstream society. The Ministry is mainly divided into two departments: 1) Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, and 2) Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

Department of Social Justice and Empowerment  

  • Entrusted with the task of empowering the socially and economically backward target groups, the Department is mandated to support and empower its target group.
  • The main objective of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment is the educational, economic and social empowerment of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) and Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs), supporting Senior Citizens by way of their maintenance; welfare, security, health care, productive and independent living; Prevention & Treatment of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (Drugs); educational, economic and social empowerment of transgender persons as well as educational and economic development of economically backward classes, and rehabilitation of beggars.

One scheme run by the Dept.:

Boys and Girls Hostels for Other Backward Classes

  • The Scheme aims at providing hostel facilities to students belonging to socially and educationally backward classes, especially from rural areas to enable them to pursue secondary and higher education.

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

  • The Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2012 as the Department of Disability Affairs to ensure greater focus on policy matters to address disability issues effectively and to act as the nodal department for greater coordination among stakeholders, organisations, state governments and related Central Ministries.
  • In 2016, the Department was renamed the Department for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
  • The main objective of the Department is to build an inclusive society with equal opportunities and empowering through related legislation/policies/programmed/schemes.

 Various ongoing schemes have been strengthened, and many new schemes have been launched.

  • The main objective of the Central Scheme on grant-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for Scheduled Castes in the education sector is to increase access to development interventions of the government and overcome the deficiencies in the education sector in Scheduled Caste dominated areas through the efforts of voluntary organisations and other such organisations.
  • Under Pre-matric and Post-matric Scholarship Scheme for OBC/EBC and DNT, six crore (approx.) beneficiaries have been covered in respect of educational places during the year 2014-19.
  • National Fellowship Scheme for OBC students has provided scholarships to 5200 students during the years 2014-19.
  • For social empowerment of scheduled caste communities, the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched during 2009-10 in 1000 scheduled caste majority villages.
    • It has now been decided to implement the scheme on a pan-India basis covering almost all the 27,000 SC-dominated villages with a certain population by the year 2024-25.
  • Ambedkar Medical Aid Scheme was launched in 2009 to provide medical treatment facility to the patients of the economically weaker sections of the scheduled castes and tribes suffering from serious ailments.
  • The main objective of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) is to give a thrust to the development programmes for Scheduled Castes through Income Generation Scheme, Skill Development Programmes and infrastructure development.
  • The Venture Capital Funds Scheme was launched in December 2015 with an initial capital of Rs 200 crore to promote and provide concessional finance to Scheduled Castes entrepreneurs.
    • The objective of a similar scheme for the economic development of OBCs, launched in 2017-18, is to promote entrepreneurs of the targeted beneficiaries through concessional finance for employment generation.
    • Recently, two new schemes VISVAS and ASIIM have been launched to promote entrepreneurship among these sections.

Senior Citizens

According to the 2011 census, the number of senior citizens in India is around 10.46 crore. Research shows that by 2030, 12 per cent of India’s population will be over 60 years of age.

Significant reforms:

  1. Implementation of old age homes and electronic transfer of grant money through a web-supported portal (e-grant).
  2. Greater increase in quantum of the grant amount.
  3. Constitution of Senior Citizen Welfare Fund for new and innovative welfare schemes for senior citizens.
  4. Launch of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) which aims at providing free of cost physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to the BPL category who are suffering from age-related disabilities.
  5. The National Action Plan for Senior Citizens has been introduced which would operate as an umbrella scheme for senior citizens under which all possible positive actions for senior citizens can be undertaken.

Substance Abuse

The Ministry has conducted the first National Survey on Drug Use in India during the year 2018, as part of the National Action Plan to curb the demand for drugs.

Rehabilitation of Beggars

The Ministry has released an amount of Rs 3.2 crore to the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) to conduct skill development programmes for persons engaged in begging.

Welfare & Empowerment of Transgenders

For the welfare and empowerment of transgender persons, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act, 2019, has been enacted. The Ministry has almost finished the work of framing rules under this Act and is organising housing, health camps and welfare schemes like skill development for transgender persons.

The Development and Welfare Board of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) has been constituted for the De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities. The functions of the board are:

  1. To formulate and implement welfare and development programmes as required for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities.
  2. To monitor and evaluate the progress of the schemes of the Government of India and the States/UTs regarding De-notified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities.
  3. To redress the grievances of DNT communities and fulfil their expectations.

The Anthropological Survey of India is conducting an ethnographic study of 62 tribes/communities which have not been included in the Central List of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Persons with Disabilities (PwDs)

  • Persons with disabilities have been addressed as ‘Divyangjan’ thus giving a new identity to them, which has become a symbol of their glorious life.
  • There are various new schemes for their empowerment.
  • In some schemes, policy changes have also been introduced so that these schemes can be implemented appropriately according to their goals.
  • The old PwD Act was welfare-based, whereas the RPwD Act is a right-based Act.
    • It prohibits any form of discrimination on the right to disability.
    • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21.
    • The reservation in jobs has been increased from 3 per cent to 4 per cent and reservation in higher education from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.
  • According to List-II of the Constitution, empowerment of persons with disabilities is the subject matter of the state government. But the Government of India is supporting the efforts of the states through its schemes. All the schemes of this Department are central schemes.
  • The Government launched the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan in 2015.
    • Under this, retrofitting has been done in central government buildings.
    • An accessible environment has been created in 35 international airports and all 69 domestic airports.
    • Facilities have been provided at railway stations towards making them accessible.
  • Scholarship Scheme for Disabled Students: This scheme has been fully implemented from 2014-15.
  • Specialised Unique Disability Identity (UDID) Project: It is an initiative for creating a national database of PwDs.
  • Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre
    • This is a new national institute established by the government in 2015. The institute has developed a dictionary with 6000 words and expressions.
  • National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation
    • The Union Government has decided to set up this institute in Sehore.
  • Centre for Disability Sports
    • It is proposed to start a Centre for Disability Sports in each of the five regions of the country.
  • Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Motivational Charitable Trust of England for modem wheelchairs.
    • ALIMCO’s new production unit has been set up in Ujjain.
    • A State-of-the-art Limb Fitting Centre has been established in Faridabad.

Chapter 2: Equality in Workplace & Home

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of women who were already living in vulnerable situations before the emergence of the pandemic. Reports from various corners of the world have shown that violence against women has intensified during this pandemic, adding to their plight. The past decades have seen huge changes in the treatment of women. However, the path to gender equality is still marred with patriarchal notions and the regressive mindset of society.

Workplace Harassment faced by Women

  • Women have had to face inequality in homes and also in their workplaces.
  • With more women entering the workforce, sexual harassment at the workplace has assumed different forms.
  • The pandemic has shown that as the definition of workplace changes so does the harassment of women in the professional space.
  • Workplace sexual harassment leads not only to women suffering from mental trauma but it also sabotages their right to work and their right to a dignified life.
  • Sexual harassment at the workplace is not only a threat to women’s security but also to the economy as it discourages women from taking up jobs forcing them to restrict opportunities available to them.
  • Harassment at the workplace and lack of a proper grievance redressal system create an insecure and apprehensive environment for women.
  • It becomes important that cyber workplace harassment also be taken into account while addressing sexual harassment at the workplace against women.
  • The National Commission for Women, under its mandate, reviews the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and thereafter recommends amendments to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet the changes needed.
    • The Commission also observed that the definition of sexual harassment at the workplace needs to be expanded to include gender-based cybercrimes.

Towards Women Empowerment

  • A violence-free home is the key to a violence-free society.
  • The first step towards making women more comfortable in reporting about the violence against them is to change the mindset of the police.
  • The biggest form of women empowerment is to make them aware of their legal rights so that they can be their own torchbearers and the best way to do it is to educate women about the legal provisions available for their protection.
    • Legal awareness gives women a chance to live a dignified way of life.
  • To address the objective of making police more sensitive towards grievances of women, the Commission has been conducting One day Gender Sensitisation Workshops across the country for police personnel.
  • The Commission, through its programme, aims to make justice accessible for the poorest of the poor.
  • Under the joint collaborative programme of the National Legal Services Authority and NCW, women, especially those belonging to the lower strata of society, are given practical knowledge about the basic legal rights and remedies provided under various women related laws thereby making them fit to face the challenges in real-life situations.
  • The programme explains to women the procedure of approaching and utilising various channels available for the redressal of grievances, the police, the executive and the judiciary.


We have come a long way when it comes to reaching gender equality and eliminating violence against women. Over the years, women have had to face issues besides the ones commonly shared by humankind and it is to be said that women have fought all their battles valorously. It is our collective responsibility as a society to ensure equality for women and we must not stop till every woman, no matter which background she comes, from can live a free and dignified life.

Chapter 3: Cleaner Cities

Swachh Survekshan is the annual cleanliness survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). It is the world’s largest cleanliness survey and was initiated to bring about rigour in progress monitoring and the spirit of healthy competition amongst cities and states to improve their performance in key cleanliness parameters.

The Need for Swachh Survekshan

  • It is one of the most effective tools for helping India not just achieve the goal of sustainable sanitation and waste management, but also transform the way the Government of India works to achieve other key development goals.
  • It has brought about a healthy spirit of competition to improve the status of urban sanitation and to ensure the best service delivery to citizens.

Evolution and Scale of Swachh Survekshan

  • The journey that started in 2016 with only 73 cities with million plus population has grown manifold today with 4.242 cities in 2020.

Completely Digital, Paperless and Efficient Survey

  • Till date, five rounds for Swachh Survekshan have been conducted.
  • The Survey from 2019 onwards has been made completely digital and paperless.

Approach and Methodology: Key Components

The design of Swachh Survekshan is based on three key pillars as follows:

  1. Service Level Progress – evaluating progress of cities on ODF status, segregated waste collection, processing, disposal of solid waste and sustainable sanitation. Progress claimed is validated through citizens and on-field visits;
  2. Citizens’ Voice – Direct feedback, engagement with citizens and innovations helmed by citizens; and
  3. Certifications – Ministry’s certification protocols such as Star Rating for Garbage Free Cities and ODF/ ODF+/ODF++/Water+.

Impact of Swachh Survekshan

The Swachh Survekshan framework has enabled MoHUA to accelerate the SBM-U Mission outcomes in propelling urban India towards achieving ‘Sampurn Swachhata’.

a. Driving India on the Path of Sustainable Sanitation

  • Today, urban India has not just become ODF but has moved beyond the Mission mandate to focus on maintaining hygiene and cleanliness of community/public toilets, wastewater treatment and faecal sludge management through the ODF+ and ODF ++ Protocols.

Quantum Jump in Solid Waste Management leading to Garbage Free Cities

  • With solid waste processing standing at a mere 14% at the time of launch of SBM-U in 2014, Swachh Survekshan motivated all cities to improve their solid waste management practices.
  • Cities were encouraged to put in place effective systems for door-to-door collection, segregation and processing.
  • Solid waste processing has gone up by over 3 times and now stands at 67%.
  • Similarly, the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities built into the Swachh Survekshan framework has driven cities to strive for holistic levels of cleanliness.

b. Bringing Swachhata Warriors Together Through Effective Citizen Engagement

The most critical part of the Mission is behavioural change among citizens and transforming the Swachhata movement into a true ‘Jan Andolan’.

c. Dignity Recognition & Social Safety Net for Sanitation Workers/Waste Pickers

SBM-U has placed a strong emphasis on improving the socio-economic conditions of sanitation workers and waste pickers who not only come from marginalised sections of society but are also vulnerable due to the nature of their jobs and lack of social safety nets.

d. Enabling Digitisation of Mission Outcomes

Swachh Survekshan has actively promoted key digital innovations:

  • Swachhata App as a grievance redressal tool has become popular among citizens
  • Till date, over 59,000 public toilet blocks in 2900 + cities have been made live in Google Maps
  • SwachhManch, a digital citizen engagement platform has been developed

e. Capacity Building of States/Cities for Effective & Seamless Knowledge Sharing

  • Building knowledge and capacity of city officials has been strengthened through the Swachh Survekshan framework.
  • From Monitoring Tool to Dynamic Tool for Improving Governance
    • From being just a monitoring framework measuring outcomes, it has become an implementation accelerator enabling sustainability of outcomes by institutionalising ‘Swachhata’.
  • Swachh Survekshan has been able to significantly transform the urban governance mechanism by incorporating speed, scale, and agility at its core.

Swachh Survekshan 2021: Adding a New Dimension through Prerak DAUUR Samman

The Ministry has recently launched the sixth edition of the survey, Swachh Survekshan 2021. Its indicators focus on parameters pertaining to wastewater treatment and reuse along with faecal sludge management. Similarly, the crucial issues of legacy waste management and remediation of landfills have also been brought to the fore in this edition of Survekshan which is in line with the Ministry’s vision for Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0.

The ‘Prerak DAUUR Samman’ will be given for five levels of achievement in Swachhata – Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze) and Aarohi, (Aspiring). These levels will be based on the performance on the following six selected indicators:

  • Segregation of waste into Wet, Dry and Hazard categories
  • Processing capacity and actual utilisation of wet waste generated
  • Processing capacity and recycling/utilisation of dry waste
  • Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste processing
  • Percentage of total waste going to landfills
  • Sanitation (liquid waste processing) status

Chapter 4: Food for all

India still faces a long road ahead in its quest to achieve Zero Hunger. Agriculture has a central role in providing food security, reducing poverty and generating employment.

State of Hunger in India

  • India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades.
  • Gross Domestic Product has increased 4.5 times and per capita consumption has increased 3 times.
  • Similarly, food grain production has increased almost 2 times.
  • However, despite phenomenal industrial and economic growth and while India produces sufficient food to feed its population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates in the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2020 report, 189.2 million people, that is 14% of the population, are undernourished in India.

Hunger, Undernutrition & Malnutrition

  • Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories.
  • Under-nutrition goes beyond calories and signifies deficiencies in any or all of the following: energy, protein, and/or essential vitamins and minerals. It is the result of inadequate intake of food in terms of either quantity or quality, poor utilisation of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these factors.
  • Malnutrition refers more broadly to both undernutrition (problems caused by deficiencies) and overnutrition (problems caused by unbalanced diets, such as consuming too many calories in relation to requirements with or without the low intake of micronutrient-rich foods).

Computation of Gross Hunger Index (GHI)

The GHI tries to capture the multidimensional nature of hunger. First, for each country, values are determined for three dimensions – inadequate food supply, child undernutrition and child mortality rate with indicators of undernourishment for the first dimension, wasting and shunting for the second dimension and under 5 mortality rate for the third dimension as indicated below.

  1. Undernourishment
  2. Child Wasting
  3. Child Stunting
  4. Child Mortality

India’s Progress in GHI

  • In the Global Hunger Index Report 2019, India was ranked at 102 out of 117 countries.
  • According to the Global Hunger Index 2020 Report, India ranked 94 with a Global Hunger Index of 27.2.
  • India has made considerable progress over the years.
  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-2018 provides considerable data on nutritional status State/UT wise.
  • The targets set under the POSHAN Abhiyaan are to reduce stunting (2%), underweight (2%), anaemia (3%) among young children, women and adolescent girls and reduce low birth weight (2%) per annum.
  • Also, the National Health Mission (NHM) includes programmatic components such as health system strengthening, Reproductive-Maternal-Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A), and prevention and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Prevalence of Malnutrition in India – Stunting, Wasting and Underweight children

  • A number of the most populous states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had a high (37-42%) stunting prevalence.
  • High prevalence of wasting (≥ 20%) states included Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand.
  • The states with the highest prevalence (≥ 39%) of underweight were Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

SDG India Index

Two of the most important SDGs having a bearing on poverty, hunger and nutrition are:

  1. SDG 1: No Poverty
  2. SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 2: Zero Hunger – To measure India’s performance towards the Goal of Zero Hunger, seven national-level indicators have been identified, which capture three out of the eight SDG targets for 2030 outlined under this Goal.

SDG Index Score for Goal 2 ranges between 22 and 76 for States and between 12 and 73 for UTs. Goa and Chandigarh are the top-performing among States and UTs, respectively.

Food and Nutrition Security

  • The implementation of a revamped Public Distribution System under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 is a paradigm shift in the approach towards the issue of food security at the household level, from welfare to a rights-based approach.
  • Under the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY), the poorest from amongst the Below Poverty Line families are entitled to 35 kg of food grains per month at more subsidised rates.
  • Under the Integrated Child Development Services, 70.37 million children in the age range 6 months to 6 years, and 17.18 million pregnant women and lactating mothers are provided access to nutritious food as on March 31, 2019.
  • The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme provides a nutritious cooked mid-day meal with a calorie range of 450-700 to over 120 million children at primary and upper primer levels.
  • The National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan), a multi-ministerial convergence mission, was launched in 2018 to make a concerted attack on under-nutrition, stunting, and anaemia.
    • The Mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls), and low birth weight by 2 per cent, 2 per cent, 3 per cent, and 2 per cent per annum respectively.
    • It targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022.

Agricultural Productivity and Income

The government is implementing a multi-faceted strategy for doubling farmers’ income focusing on seven growth factors: improved crop productivity, increased livestock productivity, cost-effective production processes, increased cropping intensity, crop diversification favouring high-value crops, access to better prices and shifting to non-farm occupations.


India still faces a long road ahead in its quest to achieve Zero Hunger. Over 25 years since India ushered in its economic reforms, the country’s economy has undergone significant structural transformations, encouraging planners to turn their focus away from agriculture and towards the service and manufacturing sectors. The priority now is to return attention to agriculture and its central role of providing food security, reducing poverty and generating employment.

Chapter 5: Multidimensional Poverty Index

The concept of global poverty estimation was initiated in the 1970s. The global strategists led research to present the international poverty line on the national poverty lines of very poor developing countries. Of all the countries that have taken up the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to measure their overall poverty statistics, India has been the biggest gainer of them all. India has recorded the fastest reductions in poverty (according to MPI) as reported in September 2019.

Significance of Multidimensional Poverty and MPI:

  • This captures the essence of poverty having more dimensions that just monetary manifestation.
  • There are many dimensions to it with the lack of food being the bottomline indicator to gauge poverty.
  • There are psychological (powerlessness, dependency, etc.), infrastructural (lack of roads and proper transportation), gender (managing assets by the more assertive gender in the family), health (ill-health as a source of destitution) and education (lack of education as a basis for poverty and good education being an escape from poverty) dimensions to poverty than just shortage of income.

In 1990, a person was poor if he had an income of less than $1 USD a day. It was revised to $1.25 per day per person in 2005 and approximately 1.6 billion people lived under this mark. It was again revised to $1.90 per day per person in 2015.

Three particular reasons that supported MPI’s cause:

  1. Non-monetary dimensions successfully capture the essence of what it “means” to be poor, thus enhancing the very notion of poverty holistically.
  2. MPI can be used to successfully figure out a more ‘appropriate income threshold’.
  3. Poverty is defined as multidimensional and therefore multiple indicators can provide more wholesome results.

Issues with earlier approaches to measuring poverty:

  1. Annual price adjustments to the poverty line are usually inadequate and tend to under-estimate the true incidence of poverty.
  2. The intake of the minimum number of calories does not automatically ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced.
  3. Expenditure on essential non-food items like rent, fuel, light, clothing, health care, education and transport is also often seriously underestimated and unaccounted for.

In 1990, the concept of the Human Development Index was devised and launched by the UNDP. It measures the average achievements of a country in three basic dimensions; healthy life, access to education and standard of living.

The Indian Story

  • The work of Amartya Sen asserted that poverty should be defined as a condition that deprives people of the freedom to choose and prohibits them from functioning effectively in society.
  • It is this lack of facilities and opportunities for individuals that prevents them from developing their full potential and capabilities.
  • The capability deprivation approach considers intrinsically important deprivations (health, education) and not just low income.
  • In 1952, the first National Sample Survey (NSS) concluded that the head-count ration of poverty in India was around 45 percent of the population.
  • In 1993, an export group chaired by DT Lakdawala established the poverty line for India.
  • In 2010, the Suresh Tendulkar Committee calculated the poverty line based on per capita consumption expenditure per month.
  • The Rangarajan Committee established a new poverty threshold for rural areas.


India, a lower-middle-income country, has recorded the fastest reductions in poverty (according to MPI) as reported in September 2019. Spanning from 2005-06 to 2015-16, India has uplifted 271 million people out of multidimensional poverty. With a drop in MPI value from 0.283 in 2005-06 to 0.123 in 2015-16, India has shown that uplifting people from the poorest regions can showcase a brilliant example for other countries to emulate. In terms of absolute numbers, India still shoulders the burden of eradicating multidimensional poverty from the lives of approximately 369 million of its citizens.

Chapter 6: Challenges of Linguistic Heterogeneity

Migration has led to linguistic diversity, especially in terms of mother tongues spoken.

  • Within a state, the probability of two individuals having the same mother tongues is higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • This should not come as a surprise since urban areas attract out-of-state migrants.
  • This probability varies across India’s larger cities.
    • The probability of two individuals having the same mother tongues is as low as 0.24 in Mumbai and 0.26 in Bangalore, reflecting the diversity of mother tongues.

Problems of multiple languages in governance

  • The linguistic heterogeneity of the cities is typically ignored by the respective state governments. Most documentation and paperwork in the Indian states are in the official language of the state or English.
  • This is a problem of inter-state migrants. For example, the documents on the website of the Maharashtra BOCW Welfare Board are in Marathi and English, which may prove to be a barrier to registration and availing of benefits.

Possible solutions

  • While the overall objective is not to require that all government business in a state be conducted in multiple languages, it is possible to permit the interface of the citizen with the state in multiple languages.
  • Such an inclusive policy can ensure that language is not a barrier and hence reduce the non-monetary costs of internal migration.
  • It should be made mandatory to make available the paperwork and documents in every state at least in all the scheduled languages of India if not in all the scheduled and non-scheduled languages of India.
  • Today, there are 22 scheduled languages listed under the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • Among all Indian states, West Bengal has the maximum number of official languages.

Multiple languages and the Judiciary

  • While some states have taken cognisance of language diversity, the judiciary has limited scope in terms of accepting language diversity.
  • Article 348 (I) of the Constitution of India requires the proceedings of the Supreme Court and High Courts to be conducted in English.
  • In recent years, the Supreme Court has recognised and acknowledged the language barriers faced by individuals in accessing the Court judgements, which were solely documented in English.

How children are affected?

  • Language can be a barrier to the children of migrant workers.
  • The medium of instruction in government schools is typically the official language of the state.
  • Language barriers could pose as a deterrent to the child who might refrain from getting enrolled in a school in the destination state.
  • A further complication is that in recent years some states are making the official language of the state a compulsory subject in government and private schools.
  • India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 flags these children as being at a higher risk of dropping out of schools. This is despite specific provisions in the Right of Children to Free and Education Act, 2009 aimed at ensuring that the risk of dropout is minimised.
  • Children enrolled in English medium schools might find it easier to manoeuvre through the challenges that are otherwise faced by children from migrant families.

All facts considered together, Hindi and English are likely to emerge as the link languages within a multilingual India.

Chapter 7: Enabling Policies

Public policy shifting towards a social model of disability is the new way forward for building disability-inclusive societies. A disability-inclusive society will have public policies that are not merely accommodative of persons with disabilities but rather, celebrate and welcome all individual differences, while being always sensitive towards the entire spectrum of human differences.

We are witness to a historic shift where social policies are moving towards a rights-based understanding of disability and interventions are gradually moving away from being steered by charity or pity.

Social Model vs Medical Model

  • The medical view of disability has been the dominant mode of explaining disability since the early 1900s. Here, the focus is on the bodily abnormalities and the dysfunctions caused thereby.
  • Disability is understood as individual bodily deviance, and individuals with disabilities are seen as people with deformities.
  • Disability rights activists and scholars have criticised the medical model of disability and raised concerns against viewing disability as a personal tragedy.
  • Moving the perception away from bodily limitation to societal discrimination is defined as the Social Model of disability.

Shift in Policy Trend

  • The social model of disability contributed to a landmark shift in the way disability was seen and perceived. UN
  • The UN Convention for the Rights to Persons with Disabilities embraces this critique of the medical model, building upon a social model of disability where society and barriers were seen as causing disability, rather than an individual’s body or the limitations within.
  • The idea is to view disability as caused externally by barriers (attitudinal or environmental or cultural) and has very little to do with physical limitations.

UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) adopted by the United Nations outlines disability as resulting from “the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.
  • UNCRPD in many ways marks a shift from a medical model to the social model of disability.
  • Across many countries, legislation was begun to be drafted where the disability question was placed within a human rights context instead of a charity or welfare approach.

Evolution of Disability Policy in India

  • In India, a National Committee on the International Year of Disabled Persons is set up as per the UN guidelines.
  • Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD) 1995 had an entire range of structural provisions but there was no open consideration within this legislation for disability rights perspective.
  • It was mostly welfare-oriented.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPD) 2016

  • RPD Act 2016 replaced the PWD Act 1995, and it is in accordance with the obligations to UNCRPD which India is a signatory to.
  • The RPD Act recognises disability as fluid and shifting and incorporates measures towards a full acceptance of people with disabilities, ensuring their full participation and inclusion in society.

Twin-Track Approach to Disability-Inclusive Policies

In addition to disability-specific targeted policies and institutions, there needs to be a disability-centric approach in all existing policies and development measures.

Track 1: Targeted, Disability-Specific Policies and Measures

  • Created exclusively for the empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • RPD Act 2016 is an example of this approach.
  • National Institutes and Statutory Bodies
    • Department for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEoPWD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
    • Deendayal Upadhyaya National Institute for Persons with Physical Disabilities
  • Schemes such as ADIP Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP Scheme)

Track 2: Mainstreaming Disability

This track involves contemporary policies and measures towards mainstreaming disability inclusion.

  • Mainstreaming Disability in Education
    • One of the first sectors to build a mainstream approach has been the education sector, for instance, Sarva Shiksa Abhiyan (SSA) launched in 2001 was more pronounced as far as integrating disabled children were concerned.
    • The newly launched National Education Policy 2020 also aims to ensure children with disabilities will have equal opportunities for participation in the mainstream educational system.
  • Accessible Sanitation Measures
    • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Swachh Bharat Mission created a set of guidelines for accessible Household Sanitation for Persons with Disabilities (December 2015).
  • Accessible Banking
    • In 2017, RBI released a landmark guideline outlining ‘Banking Facility for Senior Citizens and Differently Abled Persons’, which instructed banks to put in place inclusive mechanisms such as priority service and dedicated counters for elderly and persons with disabilities.
  • Mainstreaming Disability in Poverty Alleviation Frameworks: National Rural Livelihood Mission.
    • NRLM Social Inclusion Protocols outlines the priority and early inclusion of the poorest of the poor and other vulnerable sections of the community including persons with disabilities in rural poor communities.
    • KUDUMBASHREE (Kerala) and JEEVIKA (Bihar) have implemented disability-inclusive measures that have created disability mainstreaming pathways within poverty alleviation programmes in India.


Overall, a truly disability-inclusive society is one where all the policies, development initiatives are inclusive of all marginalised sections of the society. Mainstreaming disability inclusion is a constructive way to proceed forward with this goal.

Chapter 8: Invisible Disabilities

This chapter deals with invisible or hidden disabilities that often go undetected depriving the person of its remedies or treatments, and thus, forcing him/her to a life of misery and unfulfilled potentialities.

  • Disabilities also include a number of other conditions that are typically not apparent to onlookers.
  • Hidden psychosocial issues make conditions all the more complex and debilitating.
  • The problem is that such people look normal and are thus expected to perform with the same competence and efficiency which is at par with their physique and appearance.

Common Invisible Disabilities

  1. Minimal brain injury and developmental cognitive disorders which interfere with memory, motor skills planning, organisational abilities, cognition and communication.
  2. Learning Disabilities: Neurological disorders resulting in impairment in reading (dyslexia) writing (dysgraphia) or mathematics (dyscalculia), commonly associated with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorders: Neurodevelopment disorders beginning early in childhood and severely affecting the ability to communicate, team social skills and social interaction.
  4. Chronic diseases such as certain renal disorders and Fibromyalgia.
  5. Depression: Mental health and mood disorders involving persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest.
  6. Sensory Disorders.

Medical, Social and Psychological Challenges

Detection and Diagnosis

  • People might experience symptoms of conditions that qualify as disabilities, but they do not realise that they are experiencing something more than just normal variation.
  • Hidden disabilities are difficult to be detected by parents, caregivers and teachers.
  • Invisible conditions are also more difficult to be detected by medical doctors.
  • Most such conditions go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed.


  • The stigma surrounding a chronic disease or disorder may in many cases compel parents to conceal the disability in social settings a disability creates strain in social and work situations that might negatively affect health and well-being.
  • It results in low self-esteem and related psychological personality problems.
  • Social attitudes need to change to enable disclosure.
  • Disabled persons face potential prejudice or negative evaluations from others.
  • There is a social stigma attached to having a disability.

Efforts toward Rehabilitation and Acceptance

  • Today, India has more than 10 million children with autism, 10 million people with epilepsy, more than 150 million people with a need of intervention for mental illness, and many more with varied physical disabilities; living in relatively large cities.
  • But 71% of the children with disabilities are living in rural areas, which make getting intervention an even more difficult process for them.
  • There is a lack of specialists to deal with mental and physical disorders.
  • Mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 Population) include psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07).
  • As per WHO, India spends around 0.6% of its health budget on mental health.

Creating Awareness and Infrastructure

  • The first step towards rehabilitation is to create awareness that that are certain disabilities that require special assistance and provisions from the community.
  • The Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 includes some of the seemingly invisible conditions such as autism and learning disabilities within its ambit.
  • The need to create a trained human resource of professionals, special educators and therapists cannot be undermined.

The Special Needs of Childhood Developmental Disabilities

  • Rehabilitation of childhood developmental disorders involves early detection, early intervention, and training and empowering parents/caregivers.
  • Networking and connecting parents has been found to be extremely beneficial.

Special Education and Vocational Training – Focus on the Strengths

  • Once a disability is diagnosed or detected, the person with disability thereafter can be trained and rehabilitated in many ways by following the golden rule of focusing on the person’s strengths.
  • Alternative teaching practices become very important in this sphere.

Need for Innovation, Use of Technology and Al 

  • The application of Artificial Intelligence tools and technology in detecting disabilities that are not apparent to onlookers can be a game-changer in the case of early detection.
  • Apps and devices are being tailored to suit the special and unique needs of a young child.

Inclusion and Social Acceptance

  • There should be concerted efforts made by the government sector and society together to become more inclusive towards everyone living with a disorder or disability.
  • Awareness and sensitisation of disabilities that are not apparent will most certainly result in acceptance and social inclusion.

Chapter 9: Gandhian Paradigm of Indian Villages

For Gandhiji, cooperation was a means for achieving economic equality and the common good for all. Gandhian paradigm promotes the welfare of all. This includes the development of integrated agriculture, Khadi and Village Industries, sanitation and health, village panchayat, self-reliance, basic education, social harmony, truth and non-violence. He envisaged Sarvodaya through Antyodaya; making villages largely self-sufficient units.

  • Gandhiji realised that one of the important ways of removing poverty in rural areas and improving the quality of life of the people was by reconstructing villages from the grassroots level.
  • Gandhiji emphasised the need for the development of villages.
  • India develops in full form when there is rural development.

Gram Swaraj

  • Gandhiji called the self-governance of villages as ‘Village Swaraj’.
  • The government of the village should be conducted by a panchayat of five persons annually elected by the village adults, men or women, possessing minimum prescribed qualifications.
  • It is the decentralisation of power and the power is in the hands of the people of the village.
  • The village is a complete republic independent of its neighbours for its basic needs, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is necessary.
  • Education should be made compulsory up to the final basic course.
  • As far as possible, every activity should be conducted on a cooperative basis. There should be harmony among the people.
  • His concept of the ideal village, which consists of about 1000 persons, is organised on the basis of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
  • There should be perfect sanitation.
  • It will have cottages with sufficient light and ventilation built of a material obtainable within a radius of five miles of it.
  • Education should be aimed at the harmonious development of the body, mind and soul of the people.
    • Gandhiji called his scheme of education as ‘basic education’.
    • Along with vocational training, rural people receive instruction in elementary history, geography, and arithmetic.
  • Students should learn the principles of self-help, self-reliance, and dignity of labour along with their academic subjects.
  • A job-oriented education is very much needed in rural areas.

Hygiene & Health

  • According to Gandhiji, attention to an individual’s health and hygiene is undoubtedly the first step to rural reconstruction.
  • Also, cleanliness is not only next to godliness, it also promotes the health of the people.
  • According to him, most diseases occur on account of insanitation and unhygienic living.

Antyodaya to Sarvodaya

  • Gandhiji’s Swaraj is the poor man’s Swaraj.
  • Under Swaraj, all should fulfill their basic necessities with enough clothes, enough food including milk and milk products, decent accommodation, healthcare and cultural facilities.
  • In a village organised on the principle of Swaraj, everybody shall occupy the same status.
  • The ‘Sarvodaya’ is a comprehensive concept, which includes all aspects of rural life and activity in the sphere of sustainable rural development.
  • It includes not only agriculture development, but also productive activities of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.
  • His idea for rural development is known as Samagra Grama Seva.
  • He felt that society should attain Sarvodaya after the attainment of Antyodaya.

Integrated Agriculture

  • Gandhiji wanted that agriculture should become a bright and prosperous spot for the people.
  • He advised farmers to use organic manures and not to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.


  • According to Gandhiji, cooperation is a means for achieving economic equality and the common good for all.
  • People should live in cooperation and should work for the common good.
  • Gandhiji advocated cooperative farming for getting full benefits of agriculture.

Khadi& Village Industries

  • Gandhiji advocated Khadi and Village Industries (KVIs) for solving the problems of poverty, unemployment and rural backwardness.

Appropriate Technology

  • Gandhiji wanted technology to promote not only full employment but also economic growth and social justice.
  • Machinery has its place; it has come to stay; but it must not be allowed to displace the necessary human labour.
    • Any machinery which helps the individual and adds to his efficiency and which man can handle at will without being its slave has a place.
  • The individual is one supreme consideration.
  • The saving of labour of the individual should be the object.

Economic Equality

  • Gandhiji accepted that material things are of real importance but only to some extent.
  • Economic progress is good to the point of sufficiency.
  • Beyond that, it is evil, destructive, and uneconomic.
  • Gandhiji suggested using KVIs for improving the economic conditions of the poor.

Sustainable Development

  • Gandhiji believed that humans should live in harmony with nature.
  • He wanted people to plant trees and add to the forest wealth of the country.


Gandhian paradigm promotes the welfare of all. He was very much interested in the all-round development of villages, and was not just concerned about the economic standard of living of the people/quality of life. He also emphasised the need for a moral compass, peace, justice and freedom for all. His intention was to establish Sarvodaya through Antyodaya; and make villages largely self-sufficient units.

Chapter 10: Substance Use: Challenges and Way Forward

The system needs an approach that brings together the community and strengthens its collective response towards drug use. The use of technology to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the programmes intended to reduce substance abuse will expand the boundaries and enhance communication among the legislative, policymakers and people working on the cause.

Research (conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of AIIMS, New Delhi) found that alcohol (a psychoactive drug) is most used by Indians.

  • The report further concluded that sixteen crore people (approximately) are consuming alcohol (14.6% of the population between 10-75 years).
  • The report also propounds that cannabis and opioids are second in terms of use (2.8% of the population) followed by other forms of substance use.
  • The report also highlights the major lack of resources to tackle the situation. With over 134 crore people to look after, India has merely close to 10000 trained psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
  • The number of government-run de-addiction centres, Drug Treatment Centres Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) centres are also very less.
  • This glaring gap is further widened with a lot of people getting into substance use.


  • The recent trivialisation of the issue of drug use in the media doesn’t help the cause.
  • There are facts that directly correlate substance use to lesser income levels and people who are marginalised.
  • Substance abuse is easier to curb if caught in the early years rather than in the later years of life. Awareness and sensitisation programmes in school will go a long way to control the crisis at hand.
  • Apart from this, the community response needs to be strengthened against substance use.
  • There is a range of preventive and treatment strategies to promote healthy living and lifestyle for children, adolescents and young people in general.
  • The National Mental Health Survey pointed out that in the case of substance use the treatment gap is 90%. For alcohol use, it’s as high as 97.2%. The lacuna of adequately trained professionals contributes to this problem.
  • There is insufficient infrastructure, professionals in the workforce and funding to cater to the needs of the substance using population and to spread awareness.
  • Allocation of resources is to be done for inpatient services, rehabilitation services, outpatient services and research and development of information, education and communication activities.

Chapter 11: Tele-Law: Mainstreaming Legal Aid

Embarking on the “Digital India Vision” of the Government of India, the Department of Justice has been harnessing “emerging” and “indigenous” digital platforms to accelerate and make access to justice a reality for all. In meeting this objective, the Tele-Law programme was launched in 2017 to address cases at the pre-litigation stage. Tele-Law has touched a new milestone on October 30, 2020, with 4 lakh beneficiates having received legal advice.


  • Tele-Law primarily aims to address issues at the pre-litigative stage. It digitally connects marginalised and poor people with a Panel Lawyer, a practising advocate selected by the Department of Justice and CSC-e-Governance Services or registered on the Panel of State/District Legal Services Authority, to seek legal advice and consultation through the use of video conferencing and telephone service available at the Common Services Centres situated at the Gram Panchayat level.
  • Under this programme, smart technology of video conferencing, telephone/instant calling facilities available at the vast network of Common Service Centres at the Panchayat level are used to connect the indigent, downtrodden, vulnerable, unreached groups and communities with the Panel Lawyers for seeking timely and valuable legal advice.
  • The Tele-Law service is proactively outreached to groups and communities through a cadre of frontline volunteers provided by NALSA and CSC-eGov.

Tele-Law: Key Features

  1. The programme benefits people entitled to free legal aid under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities, Act, 1987 that include women, children, members of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, etc. to seek legal advice free of cost. Others can avail of services at Rs 30/- per consultation.
  2. To ensure its seamless penetration in far-flung and remote areas, a Tele-Law mobile application has been developed to enable pre-registration of cases by para-legal volunteers (PLVs).
  3. The Tele-Law web portal is available in 22 languages.
  4. E-Tutorial on the use of the Tele-Law mobile application has been uploaded on this portal.

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