Fearless, tribals will fight for their rights


ATTAPPADY, May 7, 2013


Krishnadas Rajagopal

Suresh (centre) and Murugan along with their
grandmother at Edavani ooru in Attappady. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
Suresh (centre) and Murugan along with their grandmother at Edavani ooru in Attappady. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

“Endengilum kittiyo, saare? (did you get anything, sir?)” 18-year-old Suresh K. asked section forest officer Lavakumar E.R.

The teenager’s grandmother, Nenji, stifles a laugh, proud at Suresh’s open challenge to the Forest Department team whicht had just come out of a clearing in the forest at Thazhe Budhiyoor, a Kurumba hamlet nestled in the Nilgiris range.

Mr. Lavakumar’s team of three is heading back after a routine patrol.

The Forest official takes this correspondent aside and says: “Do you know there are fewer men than women in these hamlets… Why? The men die young of drinking. In every house, there is illicit hooch buried under the ground, but how can we go inside with all the laws protecting them. Of course, there is no ganja cultivation now,” Mr. Lavakumar said.

Suresh overhears him and throws a second challenge at the officer: “Sir, earlier our fathers were scared of you people. They would run inside when they see men in khaki. Today, that’s not case… we know that we have done no wrong; we don’t have to be afraid.”

Mr. Lavakumar, whose face crinkles into a smile, walks away.

Suresh is the new face of the Kurumbas… the next generation. Like his elder brother, Murugan P., he talks repeatedly about the confidence education has given him; the right to question authority. He is doing his first year of travel and tourism course at the KPSMM Vocational Higher Secondary School at Varode in Ottapalam. “I am the only tribal youth from Attappady in my school. There is no hostel facility there. So I went to the Palakkad District Collector’s office and asked him to help me. Now I get monthly stipend of Rs. 1,500 towards room rent. The going is tough, but I have to finish the course,” he said.

But, for Murugan, it has been tough from the very beginning.

“I was seven years old. I wanted to go to school. My ooru people did not take me seriously. I would rebel when they made fun of my wish to go to school. One day, my cousin Manickyan decided to take me to the Kookampalayam LP School. I still remember it was the school assembly, and I didn’t know where to stand. The hostel for tribal boys was near Thavalam. It was like a cattle shed. Every week, one or two children would run away home to their ooru,” the 23-year-old said.

Today, he is a daily-wage teacher at the Government Tribal Welfare LP School. He earns Rs.8,000. He is doing a distance course from the University of Calicut in M.A. Sociology and wants to appear for the University Grants Commission examination.

“I come home to Edavani ooru every weekend, not as a runaway from the Kookampalayam school hostel when I was a child, but as a teacher who wants to give something back to my ooru,” he said. The brothers have even been able to influence their mother, Mari, who enrolled as an anganwadi helper.

The ooru, one of the most remote hamlets in Attappady, has two of its children doing graduate courses in Physics and Economics.

There are 30 government educational institutions in Attappady, of which 18 are lower primary schools, 4 upper primary schools, 7 high schools, 4 Plus Two schools and 2 vocational higher secondary schools. There are 16 hostels for Scheduled Tribe children.

But Murugan’s cousin, Manickyan K, a Malayalam teacher at the Kottathara Government UP School, says tribal children study till class 10, after which they discontinue. “We call this phenomenonkozhinju pokku (withering away). Finance is a problem, hostel accommodation in Attappady is also an issue.

Panali M, who contested the Pudur panchayat elections last year and lost by 16 votes, says the Scheduled Tribes Promoters do not talk about the children’s problems at the ooru council. Most of them are “yes men”, he says. They are supposed to take care of the ooru’s children, visit them at the hospital or at the hostel. They don’t.


#India- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment- Review 2012 #disability


      Press Information Bureau English Releases





Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

        is entrusted with the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. The target groups of the Ministry are: (i) scheduled Castes, (ii)

Other Backward Classes

      , (iii) Senior Citizens and (iv) Victims of Substance Abuse.


        Enhancement in Plan Outlay of the MinistryThere was an unprecedented increase of 136.60% in the plan outlay of the Ministry from Rs.2500 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 5915 crore in 2012-13 which includes the Budget Estimate of Department of Disability of Affairs. The plan Outlay allocated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for

12th Five Year Plan

      has been enhanced to Rs 32684 crore from Rs 13043 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan…Department of Disability Affairs


      Creation of a new Department of Disability Affairs


        A new Department of Disability Affairs has been set up vide

Cabinet Secretariat

      ’s notification dated 12.05.2012. The Department has been allocated twenty five (25) subjects. Creation of a new Department would ensure greater focus on policy matters to effectively address disability issues. Having a separate budget would help in strengthening existing schemes, formulation of new schemes as also promotion of technological innovation in the sector. It would further boost greater coordination among stakeholders, organizations, state governments and related central ministries.


      New Draft Legislation on Rights of Persons with Disabilities


        The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (


      Act) has been in force for over 15 years. In view of the need to review it and harmonize its provision with United Nations Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Ministry constituted an experts committee, which submitted its report to the Ministry on 30.06.2011. The draft bill was uploaded on the Ministry’s website for comments. The Ministry also initiated consultations with 17 Central Ministries and Departments on provisions of the draft Bill concerning them. Based on the inputs received, a draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 has been prepared and circulated in September, 2012 to all State Governments/Union Territories for their comments. The Bill will be introduced in the Parliament, after due consultations with the State Governments and other Stakeholders.


      Establishment of new District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) and Composite Regional Centres (CRCs)


      District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres


      To create infrastructure and capacity building at district level for providing rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities, awareness generation, training rehabilitation professionals etc, the Ministry provides assistance for setting up of District Disabled Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) in un-served districts of the country. Until March, 2010, 199 DDRCs have been sanctioned.


        The Finance Minister had announced in his budget speech for 2010-11 that 100 new DDRCs would be opened during the remaining period of the XIth Five Year Plan. Accordingly, 100 districts in 20 States were identified and the concerned State Governments requested in June 2010 to send proposals for setting up new DDRCs. In the year 2010-11 & 2011-12, sanctions were issued for setting up of 33 new DDRCs. During the current year 2012-13, sanctions have been issued for setting up of four new DDRCs namely (1)


        (Andhra Pradesh) (2) Howrah (

West Bengal

      ) (3) Bankura (West Bengal) & (4) Shivsagar (Assam).


      Composite Regional Centres


      The scheme of setting up of Composite Regional Centres is a part of overall strategy to reach out to the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the country and to facilitate the creation of the required infrastructure and capacity building at Central, State and District levels and below for awareness generation, training of rehabilitation professionals, service delivery etc. Centres are set up at locations where the existing infrastructure for providing comprehensive services to disabled were inadequate and where such centres are needed the most.


        There were eight CRCs functioning at Sundernagar, Srinagar, Lucknow, Guwahati, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and


      . The new CRC at Kozhikode has been functional from February, 2012.


Rajiv Gandhi

      National Fellowship Scheme for Students with DisabilitiesA new Central Sector Scheme of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities for persons with disabilities has been launched in November, 2012 to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education leading to degrees such as M.Phil and Ph.D. The scheme caters to requirements of the students with disabilities for pursuing research degree in universities, research institutions and scientific institutions. The scheme has been made effective from 01.04.2012.


        The scheme caters total number of 200 Fellowships (Junior Research Fellows, JRF) per year to students with disabilities. The scheme covers all universities/institutions recognized by

University Grants Commission (UGC)

      and will be implemented by UGC itself. The rates of fellowship for JRF and SRF will be at par with the UGC fellowship.


Status of the Implementation of Sachar Committee Recommendations for Social, Economic and Educational Development of Muslim Community


The Government took decisions on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee (Prime Minister’s High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational status of the Muslim Community of India) pertaining to various Ministries/Departments. The status of implementation of the decisions taken by Government on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee is as under:

1 Department of Financial Services :

(i) All public sector banks have been directed to open more branches in districts having a substantial minority population. In 2007-08, 523 branches were opened in such districts while in 2008-09, 537 new branches were opened. In 2009-10, 743 new branches and in 2010-11, 814 new branches were opened. During 2011-12, 619 branches have been opened up to 31st December 2011. A total of 3236 branches have been opened since 2007-08.

(ii) RBI revised its Master Circular on the 1st July, 2011 on priority sector lending (PSL) for improving credit facilities to minority communities. As on 31st December, 2011, Rs.1,54,789.90 crore, which is 14.83% of total PSL, were provided to minorities.

(iii) To promote micro-finance among women, 6,03,087 accounts have been opened for minority women with Rs. 6611.87 crore as micro-credit in 2011-12 upto September, 2011.

(iv) All public sector banks are organizing awareness campaigns in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population. In 2011-12, 1658 awareness campaigns were organized in such areas upto September, 2011.

(v) Lead banks have organized 618 entrepreneurial development programmes in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population upto September, 2011 and the number of beneficiaries is 9065.

2  Ministry of Human Resource Development:

A multi-pronged strategy to address the educational backwardness of the Muslim community, as brought out by the Sachar Committee, has been adopted, as given below:-

a) Under the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme, criteria of educationally backward blocks has been revised with effect from 1st April 2008 to cover blocks with less than 30% rural female literacy and in urban areas with less than national average of female literacy. Under the scheme, 450 KGBVs have been operationalised in minority concentration districts, so far. 70 KGBVs have been operationalised for minority concentration districts against the target of 107 during the year 2011-12 upto December, 2011.

b) Universalization of access to quality education at secondary stage called Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) has been approved. The scheme envisages preference to minority concentration areas in opening of Government schools. State Governments have been advised to accord priority to setting up of new / upgraded schools in minority concentration areas while appraising proposals under this scheme. 158 New Secondary Schools have been approved in 2011-12 upto October, 2011.

c) One model college each would be set up in 374 educationally backward districts (EBDs) of the country. Of 374 EBDs, 67 are in identified minority concentration districts. During 2011-12, five model colleges have been sanctioned in MCDs, and funds of Rs. 2.67 crores have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

d) Under the Sub-mission on polytechnics, financial assistance is provided to the States/UTs for setting up of polytechnics in un-served and under-served districts. 57 districts out of 90 minority concentration districts are eligible for consideration under the scheme. So far, 46 minority concentration districts have been covered for setting up of polytechnics, and an amount of Rs.222.66 crore have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

e) Preference is given by the University Grants Commission for provision of girls’ hostels in universities and colleges in the areas where there is concentration of minorities especially Muslims. The UGC has sanctioned 284 Women’s hostels and released Rs.201.55 crore till 30th Sept., 2011 during 11th Plan in Minority Concentration Districts/area.

f) The Area Intensive & Madarsa Modernisation Programme has been revised and bifurcated into two schemes. A Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsas (SPQEM) has been launched with an allocation of Rs. 325 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. It contains attractive provisions for better teachers’ salary, increased assistance for books, teaching aids and computers, and introduction of vocational subjects, etc. An amount of Rs. 92.77 crore has been released upto 31st Dec., 2011 against budget provision of Rs. 150 crore. The other scheme, which provides financial assistance for Infrastructure Development of Private aided/unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI), has been lauched with an allocation of Rs. 125 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. During 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 21.88 crore has been released against budget outlay of Rs. 50.00 crore upto 31st Dec., 2011.

g) For subsequent access to higher education, the Certificates issued by the State Madarsa Boards, whose Certificates and qualifications have been granted equivalence by the corresponding State Boards, would be considered equivalent by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council of Board of School Education in India (COBSE) or/and by any other school examination board.

h) Academies for professional development of Urdu medium teachers have been set up at three Central Universities namely, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. During 2011-12, 4718 Urdu Teachers have been trained under Refresher Courses/Workshops.

i) Under the revised scheme, financial assistance is given for appointment of Urdu teachers in a Government school in any locality where more than 25% of the population is from Urdu speaking community. The financial assistance would be based on the prevailing salary structure of Urdu teachers employed with schools of the State Government. Honorarium is also admissible to part-time Urdu teachers.

j) The States/UTs have been advised to undertake community based mobilization campaigns in areas having a substantial population of Muslims.  Saakshar Bharat is being implemented in 372 districts out of 410 eligible districts where adult female literacy is 50% or below as per 2001 Census. Out of 88 Muslim dominated districts, 61 districts have been covered under Saakshar Bharat.

k) Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSSs) are envisaged in the revised schemes. At present, JSSs are imparting vocational training in 33 out of the 88 Muslim dominated districts in the country.

l) The mid-day meal scheme has been extended to all areas in the country from the year 2008-09 and also covers upper primary schools. Blocks with a concentration of Muslim population are being covered under this scheme.

m) All State Governments/UT administrations have been advised to use existing school buildings and community buildings as study centres for school children.

n) National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared text books for all classes in the light of the National Curriculum Framework-2005 (NCF). 14 States have revised their curriculums as per the NCF 2005 while 9 States are in the process of doing so. Ten States/UTs use textbooks of neighbouring States or NCERT textbooks.

o) Thirty five universities have started centers for studying social exclusion and inclusive policy for minorities and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Besides, 1280 Centres of Equal Opportunity (CEOs) have been established in 51 universities during 2009-10 and 1345 and 1367 such centres are proposed to be established during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively.

3 Ministry of Minority Affairs :

(a) An expert group, constituted to study and recommend the structure and functions of an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), submitted its report on 13th March, 2008. The concept of diversity index has been subsumed in the EOC. The draft Bill for EOC is under consultation with other Ministries/Departments concerned.

(b) The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 as passed by the Lok Sabha was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on 31st August, 2010. The Select Committee held its 22nd Meeting on 12.12.2011. The Report of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on the Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and the evidence tendered before the Select Committee were placed on the Table of the Rajya Sabha on 16th December, 2011.

(c) The Government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for restructuring of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC). A consultancy firm has been appointed to work out the details for restructuring of NMDFC. The firm had submitted its draft reports which were examined in the Ministry. The Report and the views of the Consultancy Monitoring Committee are under consideration.

(d) An Inter-ministerial Task Force constituted to devise an appropriate strategy and action plan for developing 338 identified towns having substantial minority population, has submitted its report on 8th November, 2007. The concerned Ministries/Departments have been advised to give priority in the implementation of their schemes in these 338 towns.

(e) Three scholarship schemes for minority communities namely, pre-matric scholarship from class –I to X, post-matric scholarship from class XI to PhD and merit-cum-means scholarship for technical and professional courses at under-graduate and post-graduate levels have been launched. Under these schemes, Rs. 649.21 crore have been sanctioned for award of scholarships to 33.90 lakh students belonging to minority communities in 2011-12 upto 31st December, 2011. Further, a fellowship scheme called Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme for M.Phil and Ph.D scholars has been under implementation. 756 fellowships and 3778 renewals have been sanctioned by University Grants Commission (UGC) and financial assistance for Rs. 51.98 crore has been released up to 31st December, 2011.

(f) The corpus of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), which stood at Rs. 100 crore, was doubled to Rs. 200 crore in December, 2006. The corpus was, however, increased during 11th Plan period to Rs. 700 crore. Under the scheme of MAEF, since 2007-08, 419 NGOs have been given grants-in-aid for infrastructure development of educational institutions and 48471 scholarships were awarded to meritorious girls in classes-XI and XII.

(g) A revised Coaching and Allied scheme was launched in 2006-07. Against the target of 6000 candidates for 2011-12, financial assistance has been given to 90 students/candidates belonging to minority communities. Funds to the tune of Rs.4.00 crore have been released against the budget provision of Rs. 16 crore, up to 31st December, 2011.

(h) A Multi- sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in 90 identified minority concentration districts in 2008-09. Plans of 90 minority concentration districts (fully in 68 and partly in 22 districts) in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttrakhand, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been approved and Rs.2588.34 crore released to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations up to 31st December, 2011 since launching of the programme.

4 Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation:

A National Data Bank, to compile data on the various socio-economic and basic amenities parameters for socio-religious communities, has been set up in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

5 Planning Commission:

(a) An autonomous Assessment & Monitoring Authority (AMA), to analyse data collected for taking appropriate and corrective policy decisions, was set up in the Planning Commission. Since the term of the AMA ended on 15th January, 2011, the Planning Commission has reconstituted the AMA and the newly reconstituted AMA has conducted few meetings.

(b) A comprehensive institutional structure for fostering skill development has been set up in Planning Commission to address the skill development needs of the country including minorities. It includes National Council on Skill Development, National Skill Development Coordination Board and a National Skill Development Corporation.

6 Department of Personnel and Training:

(a) Department of Personnel & Training has developed training modules for sensitization of government officials. These modules have been sent to the Central/ State Training Institutes for training.

(b) State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have been advised by Department of Personnel & Training for posting of Muslim police personnel in Thanas and Muslim health personnel and teachers in Muslim concentration areas. Guidelines have also been issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare advising States/UTs for similar action.

7 Ministry of Home Affairs:

(a) A High Level Committee, set up to review the Delimitation Act, has considered the concerns expressed in the Sachar Committee report regarding anomalies with respect to reserved constituencies under the delimitation schemes and submitted its report.

(b) A Working Group in the National Advisory Council (NAC) drafted a Bill titled “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill, 2011”. The NAC sent the Bill to Ministry of Home Affairs on 25.07.2011. The draft Bill is under examination in Ministry of Home Affairs.

8 Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation:

For facilitating the flow of funds under the Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) to towns and cities, having a substantial concentration of minority population, necessary steps have been taken to ensure that Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for such towns and cities include adequate provisions for minorities.

(a) Under UIDSSMT, Rs. 2672.34 crore has been sanctioned for 88 towns having a substantial minority population.

(b) Under IHSDP, projects costing Rs. 1897.69 crore are for 101 towns having a substantial minority population.

(c) Under BSUP, Rs.7086.47 crore has been sanctioned for 17 towns.

(d) Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Kerala have given exemption to Waqf Board properties from Rent Control Act, while Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have informed that no Waqf property exists in these States.

9 Ministry of Labour and Employment:

An Act has been passed by the Parliament for providing social security to workers in the un-organized sector, which, inter- alia, includes home based workers.

10 Ministry of Culture:

Meetings of circles of Archaeological Survey of India have been held with State Waqf Boards to review the list of waqf properties which are under the Archaeological Survey of India.

11 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare :

Dissemination of information regarding health and family welfare schemes is being undertaken in regional languages in minority concentration areas.

12 Ministry of Panchayati Raj:

State Governments have been advised by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Urban Development to improve representation of minorities in local bodies.

As per information furnished by Ministry of Panchayati Raj, States/UTs of Uttarakhand, Kerala, West Bengal and Lakshadweep have mentioned that provisions for ensuring representation of minorities in District and Panchayat level exist. The State Governments of Himachal Pradesh and Orissa have informed that the matter is under consideration.

Ministry of Urban Development has informed that State Governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana have implemented the guidelines.

13 Ministry of Information & Broadcasting :

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been regularly releasing features of various themes associated with minority welfare covering issues such as scholarship schemes, initiatives taken in pursuance of the Sachar Committee Report.


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