Institutions related to Social Welfare


A. National Commission for Scheduled Castes

• The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, a Constitutional body monitors the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes and also reviews issues concerning their welfare.

• Functions and duties of the commission are:

a) To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguar
b) To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes;
c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
e) To make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes; and
f) To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.

B. National Commission on Scheduled Tribes

• The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was first formed by the Government of India in 1978 as a Non-statutory Multi-Member Commission. Initially, the Commission was set up through a resolution for both the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. In the year 1987, the Government of India re-structured the duties of the Commission by authorizing it to advice on the Broad Policy Issues and Levels of Development of SCs and STs.
• The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in 2004.}

• Functions of the Commission are:

a) To investigate and monitor all the matters relating to the safeguards provided for the SCs and STs under the Constitution of India or under any other law and to evaluate the working of such scapegoats.
b) To enquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of the rights and the safeguards of the SCs and the STs.
c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
e) To make in such reports or recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Schedule Castes and the Schedule Tribes as the President may by lured specify.

C. National Commission for Backward Classes

• National Commission for Backward Classes came into effect on the 2nd April, 1993.
• The Act provides that the Commission shall consist of five Members, comprising of a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; a social scientist; two persons, who have special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes; and a Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India
• The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
• The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.
• The Commission shall, while performing its functions have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
b) Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
c) Receiving evidence on affidavits;
d) Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
e) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents; and
f) Any other matter which may be prescribed.
D. National Commission for Women

• The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to :
a) Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
b) Recommend remedial legislative measures ;
c) Facilitate redressal of grievances and
d) Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
• The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns. The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labour. They have also discussed police abuses against women.
• The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.

E. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

• The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005).
• The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
• The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
• The Commission visualises a rights-based perspective flowing into National Policies and Programmes, along with nuanced responses at the State, District and Block levels, taking care of specificities and strengths of each region.
• In order to touch every child, it seeks a deeper penetration to communities and households and expects that the ground experiences gathered at the field are taken into consideration by all the authorities at the higher level.
• Thus the Commission sees an indispensable role for the State, sound institution-building processes, respect for decentralization at the local bodies and community level and larger societal concern for children and their well-being.

F. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

• National Commission for Safai Karamcharis is an Indian statutory body was established through National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993.
• The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis seeks to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various schemes for Safai Karamcharis as an autonomous organisation and also to provide redressal of their grievances.
• The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-

a) Recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound action plan;
b) Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and make recommendations to the Central Government and State Governments for better co-ordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes;
c) Investigate specific grievances and take suo moto notice of matters relating to non-implementation of:

i. Programmes or schemes in respect of any group of Safai Karamcharis;
ii. Decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mistigating the hardship of Safai Karamcharis;
iii. Measures for the social and economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis;
iv. The provisions of any law in its application to Safai Karamcharis, and take up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments;

d) Make periodical reports to the Central and State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by Safai Karamcharis
e) Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
• In the discharge of its functions under sub-section, the Commission shall have power to call for information with respect to any matter specified in that sub-section from any Government or local or other authority.

G. Human Rights Commission

Section 2 (d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 defines human rights as rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual, guaranteed by the Constitution, or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. Human Rights Commission according to the Act has been established at the central as well as state level.

1. National Human Rights Commission

• When established? On October 12, 1993 under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
• Headquarter – New Delhi
• Composition –
a) A Chairperson
b) One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court
c) One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
d) Two Members from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
e) In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions of (Minorities, SC, ST, & Women) serve as ex-officio members
f) The CEO of the Commission is the Secretary-General, an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The Secretariat of the Commission works under the general supervision of the Secretary-General.

• There are six Divisions in the Commission namely administration; law; training; policy research, projects & programmes; investigation; information & public relations.

• Functions

a) Inquiring, suo motu, or on petitions, presented to it by victims, or any persons on their behalf, or on a direction or order of any court, into complaints of violation of human rights or abetment thereof, or negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant.
b) Intervening in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a Court, with the approval of such Courts.
c) Visiting any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates thereof and making recommendations.
d) Reviewing the safeguards under the Constitution, or any law for the protection of human rights, and recommending measures for their effective implementation.
e) Reviewing the factors, including acts of terrorism, that inhibits the enjoyment of human rights, and recommending appropriate remedial measures.
f) Studying treaties and other international instruments on human rights, and making recommendations for their effective implementation.
g) Undertaking and promoting research in the field of human rights.
h) Spreading human rights literacy and promoting awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights, through publications, the media, seminars etc.
i) Encouraging the efforts of non-governmental organisations, and institutions working in the field of human rights.

2. State Human Rights Commission

• When established? State Governments may constitute State Human Rights Commission to exercise the power conferred under the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993.
• Composition –
a) A chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court
b) One member who is a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge and
c) One member who is a person having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
• Most of the powers & functions of the State Human Rights Commission are similar to that of its counterpart at the national level.

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