Welfare
            IN 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of
      Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare. Simultaneously, the Scheduled
      Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward
      Classes Welfare Division were shifted from the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Wakf
      Division from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare.
            Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice and
      Empowerment in May, 1998. Further, in October, 1999, the Tribal Development Division was
      moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In January, 2007 the Minorities
      Division along with Wakf Unit were moved out of the Ministry and formed a separate Ministry
      and the Child Development Division was merged with the Ministry of Women and Child
      Development..
            Two departments have been created under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
      namely: (i) Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita
      Vibhag) (ii) Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag) since renamed as
      Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan).
      Relevant Websites: www.socialjustice.nic.in www.disabilityaffairs.gov.in
      Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
            The Constitution contains several provisions in the nature of safeguards for the Scheduled
      Castes. The following two Acts specifically aim at curbing (i) untouchability and (ii) atrocities
      against SCs and STs, and are therefore very important for the Scheduled Castes— (i) The
      Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and (ii) The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
      (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
      Protection of Civil Rights
            In pursuance of Article 17 of the Constitution of India, the Untouchability (Offences) Act,
      1955 was enacted. Subsequently, it was amended and renamed in 1976 as the Protection of Civil
      Rights Act, 1955. Rules under this Act, viz., The Protection of Civil Rights Rules, 1977 were
      notified in 1977. The Act extends to the whole of the country and provides punishment for the
      practice of untouchability. It is implemented by the respective state governments and union
      territory administrations.
      Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)
      Act
            The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (The
      PoA Act) came into force in 1990. This legislation aims at preventing commission of offences by
      persons other than scheduled castes and scheduled tribes against scheduled castes and scheduled
      tribes.