- Has the conversion of the National Commission for Backward Castes into a constitutional body solved the problems faced by the backward castes in India? (10 marks)
- “Microfinance as an anti-poverty vaccine is aimed at asset creation and income security of the rural poor in India.” Evaluate the role of Self Help Groups in achieving the twin objectives along with empowering women in rural India. (15 marks)
1. Has the conversion of the National Commission for Backward Castes into a constitutional body solved the problems faced by the backward castes in India? (10 marks)
- 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
- How according constitutional status solved the problems faced by backward classes
- Now NCBC is entrusted with the additional function of grievance redress of backward classes.
- Article 342(A) introduces greater transparency as it is made mandatory to take the concurrence of Parliament for adding or deleting any community in the backward list.
- Now powers of NCBC are derived directly from constitution, thus providing better protection to backward castes
- How according constitutional status hasn't solved the problems-
- Merely providing constitutional status to NCBC doesn't solve wide array of problems faced by backward castes
- Persistent atrocities and violence faced by these communities
- Discrimination of social, economic and politcal spheres
- It is apprehended that the new version of the National Commission for Backward Classes is unlikely to provide credible and effective social justice architecture.
- The recommendation of the NCBC is not binding on the government.
- Since it has no responsibility to define backwardness, it cannot address the current challenge of demands of various castes to be included as BCs.
- The government must put information in public domain regarding the findings of the caste census and recommendations of commission.
- Along with better laws, government should focus on ground level implementation of these laws
- Mere constitutional status and more acts will not solve the problem at grass root level as recent data revealed skewed representation of SC/ST and OBC categories.
2. “Microfinance as an anti-poverty vaccine is aimed at asset creation and income security of the rural poor in India.” Evaluate the role of Self Help Groups in achieving the twin objectives along with empowering women in rural India. (15 marks)
- Define Microfinance
- Microfinance, also called microcredit, is a type of banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who otherwise would have no other access to financial services.
Microfinance as an anti-poverty vaccine
- Microfinance is the practice of providing the poor with credit, savings and insurance facilities to set up or to expand Income Generating Activities relating to agriculture and its allied activities and non-farm sector, and thereby reducing poverty.
- The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people have directly or indirectly benefited from microfinance-related operations.
Role of SHGs in Asset Creation and Income security of Rural Poor:
- SHGs are a way to lift people from below the poverty line and generate assets for them.
- SHGs are encouraged to run small businesses such as spice and pickle manufacturing.
- SHGs act as microfinance institutions and help alleviate the conditions of the rural
- SHG-Bank linkage programme pioneered by NABARD
- Banking literacy
- Low financial investment through SHG can ensure large economic benefit
- Expand horizons of livelihood opportunities - SHG members were appointed as Business Correspondents under Bank Sakhi by NABARD
- Optimum utilisation of local resources
Role of SHGs in Empowering women in Rural India
- Skill development of women
- Socio- Economic empowerment of women - Hope for gender equality - Kudumshree in Kerala
- Economic empowerment through SHGs, provides women the confidence for participation in decision making affairs at the household-level as well as at the community-level.
- Financial independence through self-employment-
- Allied benefits- literacy, empowerment, poverty alleviation, health and nutrition, improved quality of life, etc
- They help to build Social Capital among the poor, especially women.
- Patriarchal mindset
- Lack of knowledge and proper orientation among SHG-members
- Lack of rural banking facilities
- Unwillingness of local banks to support SHGs
- No Security – As the SHGs work on mutual trust and confidence of the members.
- Only a minority of the Self-Help Groups are able to raise themselves from a level of micro-finance to that of micro-entrepreneurship.