India has been proactive in formulating welfare schemes targeting its vulnerable population. The question arises whether these schemes, by their nature, are discriminatory in approach.
Are Development and Welfare Schemes Discriminatory in Approach?
- Targeted Approach: Many schemes are designed specifically for certain vulnerable groups, ensuring they receive the necessary benefits. For instance, the Umbrella Programme for Development of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes focuses on the upliftment of these communities.
- Inclusivity: While some schemes target specific groups, others like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna aim for broader inclusivity, benefiting both rural and urban populations.
- Geographical Discrimination: Schemes like the North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) 2017 focus on specific regions, in this case, the North Eastern Region, to promote industrialization.
- Gender-Specific Initiatives: Schemes such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao aim to address gender disparities, focusing on the girl child.
- Financial Allocation: Some major initiatives like Namami Gange and Ayushman Bharat have received more funding than they have spent since their inception.
Reasons for the Approach
- Historical Disadvantages: Certain communities have faced historical disadvantages, necessitating targeted schemes for their upliftment.
- Diverse Needs: India’s diverse population requires varied solutions. A one-size-fits-all approach might not address specific challenges faced by different groups.
- Economic Disparities: Regions like the North-East have unique challenges that require specialized schemes for development.
- Gender Inequalities: Persistent gender inequalities in India make gender-specific schemes essential.
While some may perceive the targeted nature of welfare schemes as discriminatory, it is essential to understand that these schemes aim to bridge historical, social, and economic gaps. A balanced approach, combining both targeted and universal schemes, can ensure comprehensive development and welfare for all.