At the ministerial level, the Department of Social Welfare was constituted immediately on reorganisation of States i.e., from November, 1956. It, however, took shape at the Directorate level from September 15, 1957. The backward class welfare work done previously by the Backward Class Department is now done by the Backward Class Wing of the Social Welfare Department. The other wing of the Social Welfare Department is the Correctional Wing. The designation of the Director of Backward Class Welfare is now changed to Director of Social Welfare who is the head of the Social Welfare Department of the State. The Chief Inspector of Certified Schools and Institutions is redesignated as Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Correctional Wing) and he assists the Director of Social Welfare in matters relating to Correctional Wing. There are three more Deputy Directors who look after the work relating to education and rehabilitation of the physically handicapped, research and statistics and sanitation and scavenging schemes.

There are divisional officers for each revenue division of the State. Besides there are Nomadic Tribes Welfare Officers and Vimukta Jati Welfare Officers attached to the divisions, who look after the work relating to the welfare of nomadic tribes and vimukta jatis. Since April 1965 a post of Special Officer has been attached to each of the divisions for the speedy implementation of the recommendations of the Scavengers Living Conditions Enquiry Committee. At the district level, the department has district officers termed as Social Welfare Officers.

All the schemes undertaken by the Social Welfare Department are implemented by the Social Welfare Officer in the district and it is part of his duties to see that the fullest benefit of all these schemes is received by the members of the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes. He is also expected to see that the backward classes derive the maximum of the concessions sanctioned by the Government in the field of education, health, housing, agricultural land, profession, etc.

Since the formation of the Zilla Parishad all the activities and schemes carried out by the department have been transferred to the Zilla Parishad. The Social Welfare Department of the Zilla Parishad is headed by the Social Welfare Officer who is responsible to the Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad.

Backward Classes.

The backward classes are classified into three broad categories, viz. (1) the scheduled castes or harijans, (2) the scheduled tribes or adivasis and (3) other backward classes who are neither scheduled castes nor scheduled tribes but are socially, economically and educationally as backward as the other two categories. The communities coming under the first two categories are notified by the Government of India under the orders of the President for each of the States in the Indian Union. However, the classification as backward based on communities, has been abolished and now the classification is based on economic conditions (income). The new class of other backward classes is given the concession of free education at all the stages.

A number of other privileges have also been granted to backward classes and special grants are paid every year by the Government of India under Article 275 (i) of the Constitution for ameliorating conditions of backward classes. Besides normal concessions made available to backward classes from time to time, special schemes have been framed for backward classes by the State Government under the Five-Year Plans which are being implemented vigorously.

It is the policy of the Government to ameliorate the conditions of backward classes so as to bring them on par with advanced sections of the community. With this object in view, the Government have taken three-fold measures covering education, economic rehabilitation and social welfare.

In the field of education the Government offers a large number of scholarships and concessions in fees to the students belonging to the backward classes at all stages of education-primary, secondary and collegiate. Special attention is paid to the education of population belonging to the scheduled tribes, the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes and the vimukta jatis.

Towards economic rehabilitation of backward classes measures are taken to imbibe co-operative spirit in them, to provide vocational training and other facilities, to supply them with the capital and other tools and equipment required for small occupations and agricultural implements.

Towards social welfare the Government have undertaken to remove the stigma of untouchability in respect of scheduled castes and assimilation of scheduled tribes in general population without destroying their hereditary traits and rehabilitation of ex-criminal tribes and nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes from among the category of other backward classics. Legislative measures as well as propaganda through voluntary agencies are the means used to achieve this objective. Mention may be made here of the Untouchability Offences Act, 1955, passed by the Government of India to stop the observance of untouchability.

With the liberal financial assistance of the Central Government under Article 275(i) of the Constitution to the extent of 50 per cent. of the expenditure on the schemes other than education and 75 per cent. on the educational schemes, various measures are undertaken by the State Government for the uplift of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, vimukta jatis and other backward classes under the Five-Year Plans. Besides this, the Government of India has also sponsored on cent per cent, basis a special programme for the welfare of backward classes in the State which includes awarding of scholarships to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students studying in post-S. S. C. courses, opening of 40 Tribal Development Blocks, assistance to Forest Labourers' Co-operative Societies, maintenance of Tribal Research Unit, construction of houses for sweepers and scavengers and assistance to Local Bodies for purchase of wheel-barrows and hand-carts for the removal of night soil.

In the implementation of these backward class welfare measures, advice and co-operation is also sought from eminent social workers and voluntary organisations through the State Board for Harijan Welfare and the State Tribes Advisory Council. All these social, economic and educational measures taken by Government, are sure to go a long way in eradicating untouchability with the educational and economic uplift of the backward classes.

Administrative set-up.

In accordance with the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act. 1961, welfare of backward classes has been entrusted to the Standing Committee of the Zilla Parishad. The Deputy Chief Executive officer of the Zilla Parishad acts as the Secretary of the Committee and the Social Welfare Officer as the Joint Secretary. The President of the Zilla Parishad acts as the Chairman of the Standing Committee. According to 1961 Census, out of the total district population of 13,51,236 the scheduled tribes alone numbered 5,13,334 while 48,054 were scheduled castes and 30,998 were Nava Buddhists. The population of Vimukta Jatis and nomadic tribes was about 34,000 and 8.200 respectively. The Dhulia district has the largest number of scheduled tribes in the State. Under sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph 6 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the President has declared Akrani Mahal and Navapur and Akkalkuwa talukas of the district as scheduled areas. The scheduled area in the district is spread over 2,349.389 km2 (907.1 sq. miles) covering one town and 413 villages.

The Block Development Officers of the Panchayat Samitis receive the applications from backward classes in their respective talukas. The Block Development Officers, the Extension Officers of the blocks and the Social Welfare Officer carefully watch the follow-up programme regarding proper utilisation of help given to the backward classes.

Measures of Uplift.

In order to facilitate the educational uplift of backward classes in the district, special concessions are granted to the students of these communities such as grant of Scholarships, grant of tuition fees, examination fees etc., from the primary to the collegiate level. During the Third Five-Year Plan period, 43,815 backward class students studying in pre-S.S.C. courses availed of these concessions. In 1964-65 the department spent Rs. 4,00,556 towards grant of scholarships, tuition and examination fees to backward class students:


There are 72 hostels for backward classes with more than 2,300 inmates. Besides 'there are five cosmopolitan hostels in which backward class and non-backward class students are provided accommodation. In 1964-65 the department incurred an expenditure of Rs. 482,416 towards grant of hostel facilities to the backward class students.

Ashram Schools.

In addition, eight Ashram schools for scheduled tribes have been functioning in the district. Ashram schools are residential primary schools in which pupils are imparted basic education with agricultural bias. The object of these schools is to equip the tribal students to live necessarily within the resources available in the tribal areas and also to create local leadership among the scheduled tribes so that more and more people from among themselves could come forward to occupy key positions in all walks of life.

There are also four balwadis and sanskar kendras in the district located at Nandurbar, Manjrod, Dhulia and Shahada.

The economic improvement of the backward classes is achieved through various means. The Government have sanctioned a scheme of grant of loan-cum-subsidy to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, for cottage industries and professions, to supplement their agricultural income.

Economic Uplift.

Similarly, to improve the agricultural methods and to supplement the agricultural income of the backward classes, financial assistance is sanctioned for purchase of milch cattle, plough bullocks, poultry, implements, tractors, oil engines, etc. During the Third Five Year Plan period, assistance, was also sanctioned for construction of 85 irrigation wells. 136 individuals were given assistance for purchase of shares of co-operatives of agriculturists. Five Industrial Co-operative Societies of backward classes and three Forest Labourers' Cooperative Societies of scheduled tribes received assistance towards share capital and management expenses.

However, by far the most important programme for the all round development of the scheduled tribes is the opening of one Multipurpose Development Block in Akrani Mahal under the Second Five-Year Plan and twelve Tribal Development Blocks under the Third Five-Year Plan. In stage I of the Multi-purpose Block, Rs. 15 lakhs were allotted from the funds provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in addition to the allotment of Rs. 12 lakhs by the Ministry of Community Development. Under the Third Five Year Plan, the ministries of Social Welfare and Community Development made a total allotment of Rs. 22 lakhs for stage I of the Tribal Development Blocks. These Blocks are located at Mulgi Chinchpada, Mandane, Taloda, Khandbara, Akkalkuwa, Dhanora, Kondaibari, Kudashi, Mhaswad, Nawapur and Ashte.

With the opening of these blocks all areas having concentration of 66.6 per cent. of tribal population in the district have been covered.

Improvement of means of communication in the tribal areas has been accorded top priority as inaccessibility of the area is the main cause for its continued backwardness. Under the Tribal Welfare Programme, bridges, causeways, culverts etc., are constructed on the approach roads constructed under the Community Development Programme. During the Third Five-Year Plan, 30 such works were completed at the cost of Rs. 3.34 lakhs.

Health, Housing and other schemes.

Provision of medical facilities, drinking water wells, housing, propaganda and publicity and removal of untouchability are the main programmes undertaken in this group.

During the Third Five-Year Plan period two voluntary agencies administering medical relief in Scheduled Areas were given financial assistance, 293 scheduled tribe persons were provided free aid and 48 patients belonging to scheduled tribes were given assistance to undertake journeys for treatment. Under the Tribal Welfare Programme special dispensaries have been opened at Kathi, Visarwadi, Singpur, Boradi and Borad.

During the Third Five-Year Plan period Rs. 1.96 lakhs were spent on construction of 137 drinking water wells in or near backward class localities. During the same period 975 houses for backward classes were constructed at a cost of Rs. 5.84 lakhs. Besides the Co-operative Housing Societies of backward classes were given grants to the extent of Rs. 8.47 lakhs for construction of 445 houses. During the year 1965-66, the State Government sanctioned a scheme costing Rs. 2.19 lakhs for construction of 60 houses for sweepers and scavengers employed by Dhulia municipality.

Financial assistance is given to all the municipalities in the district for purchase of wheel-barrows and hand carts for removal of night soil so that the obnoxious practice of carrying it as a head load by sweepers and scavengers is completely stopped.

With the largest number of scheduled tribes, the district has a special place in the development programmes for backward classes in the State. During the Fourth Five-Year Plan, all scheduled tribe areas having concentration of over 50 per cent. tribal population are proposed to be covered. In addition a special programme for pockets having concentrations of 1,000 scheduled tribes outside the Tribal Development Blocks has been envisaged.

These schemes are expected to yield substantial benefits to the backward class communities in this district and will lead to the desired amelioration of these communities so as to bring them on par with other sections of the society.