BACKWARD CLASS DEPARTMENT.
THE BACKWARD CLASS.
THE BACKWARD CLASS DEPARTMENT WAS CREATED in 1931 as
a result of the recommendations made in 1930 by the Depressed
Classes and Aboriginal Tribes Committee. The classification
recommended by the Committee and adopted by Government includes
within backward classes persons of three different categories, viz.,
(1) untouchables classed as " scheduled classes"; (2) aboriginal and
hill tribes; and (3) such other classes of persons as Government may
class as "other backward classes". As soon as any caste or section
of the population ceases to require protection or, aid it may be
removed from the list of backward classes and it will then cease to
have any special connection with the Backward Class Department.
The communities under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes are approved by the President's order under the Constitution
of India. The Constitution of India has also provided for special
protection and encouragement to be given to the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes in view of their extremely backward condition. The
population of backward classes in Kolhapur district as per 1951
Census was as' follows:-
It is the policy of Government to push on vigorously
with the work of amelioration of backward classes so that the
communities at present classified as backward may be assimilated
into society on a common footing with others and they may make rapid
progress in economic, social, cultural and other spheres, and
conditions may be created in which they will cease to be backward.
The Central Government also gives liberal grants for
this purpose under article 273 of the Constitution.
With the inauguration of the bilingual Bombay State,
a new department of Labour and Social Welfare has been created which
looks after the amelioration of backward classes. In addition to a
separate Secretary, a post of Deputy Secretary has also been created
in this department. The head of the department called as the
Director of Backward Class Welfare, has his headquarters at Poona.
He is assisted at headquarters by one Personal Assistant of the rank
of Assistant Director of Backward Class Welfare. In addition, there
are three Assistant Directors, all at the headquarters, one in
charge of Education, another in charge of Lands and the third in
charge of Economic matters. The posts are filled by transfer of
suitable Class I or Class II officers of the Departments of
Education, Co-operation and Revenue. There are also twenty-three
Backward Class Welfare Officers in the old Bombay State area each in
charge of a single district. These officers are of the status of the
Second Grade Mamlatdars. There are also two regional Nomadic Tribes
Welfare Officers, one for Maharashtra and the other for Gujarat,
appointed specially for the welfare of nomadic tribes. They are of
the status of Backward Class Welfare Officers. The department is not
ordinarily entrusted with executive work, as its main function is
co-ordination of the work of other departments concerned with
backward class welfare work. The execution of a programme in any
particular field is the responsibility of the department concerned
with that field and its officers. The Director of Backward Class
Welfare seeks to co-ordinate the work of the various departments
concerned in accordance with the directives of Government and the
relevant provisions of the Constitution and collects such
information and statistics from the departments as are required by
The uplift of backward classes is sought to be
achieved in many ways. First of all, special facilities are given
to. them for receiving education. For example, they get free
studentships in Government as well as non-Government schools, and
scholarships in arts and professional colleges and technical
institutions. In addition, the Backward Class Department gives
monetary help to poor and deserving students from the backward
classes studying in secondary, collegiate, and technical
institutions, by way of lump sum grants for the purchase of slates,
books, tools, etc., and for payment of examination fees. A
percentage is prescribed by Government for the admission to training
institutions of men teachers from backward classes. In the case of
women teachers, no percentage has been separately fixed, but if
suitable women belonging to these classes are available for
training, preference is given to them in the matter of admission to
Voluntary agencies are encouraged by means of
grant-in-aid to open special hostels for Backward Classes. There are
eleven such hostels in the Kolhapur district run by the following
voluntary agencies: -
Name of the Voluntary Agency.
(1) Shri Devi Indumati
Boarding House Committee, Kolhapur.
Shri Devi Indumati
Boarding House, Kolhapur
(2) Miss Clarke Hostel
Miss Clarke Hostel,
(3) Arya Samaj, Kolhapur
Arya Samaj Gurukul and
Col. Woodhouse Anatha-lay, Kolhapur.
(4) Hind Kanya
Chhatralaya Committee, Kolhapur.
Hind Kanya Vastigriha,
(5) Rayat Shikshan
(6) Deccan Backward
Class Education Committee, Jaisingpur.
(7) Mahatma Gandhi
Vastigriha Committee, Dhamod.
Name of the Voluntary Agency.
(8) Shri Mauni
Backward Class Hostel,
(9) Shri Swami
Vivekanand Shikshan Sanstha, Kolhapur.
(10) Deccan Backward
Class Education Society, Jaisingpur.
Bharat Kanya Seva Sadan,
(11) Shikshan Prasarak
The voluntary agencies are also encouraged to open
and run balwadis for backward class children of tender age to
teach them habits of cleanliness and ultimately to achieve their
assimilation with other higher caste Hindu children. To solve,
effectively the problem of education of the backward classes
voluntary agencies are encouraged to open sanskar
kendras for Scheduled castes, ashram schools for
Scheduled Tribes and ashram schools-cum-sanskar
kendras for ex-criminal tribes.
There are in all thirty-three sanskar
kendras in Bombay State and grants are paid to the voluntary
agencies conducting them. There is only one sanskar
kendra in the Kolhapur district, viz., the sanskar
kendra at Kolhapur conducted by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha,
There are, in all, twenty-two schools in the Bombay
State as on 31st March 1957. No ashram school is, however,
located in the Kolhapur district, as the population of Scheduled
Tribes in the district is very small. The total number of
ashram schools-cum-sanskar kendras in the
Bombay State as on 31st March 1957, is five. No ashram
school-cum-sanskar kendra is located in the Kolhapur
district. Though one such ashram school was sanctioned in
1954-55, no voluntary agency came forward to fun such an
Secondly, reservation of posts is made for members
of the backward classes in the public services. The following
percentages of vacancies are reserved for members of the Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes, in Class III
and Class IV services and posts: -
Service or post.
Percentage of vacancies
Other Backward Classes.
There is a collective reservation of vacancies in
respect of the State (Gazetted) Services, viz., 12½ per cent, in respect of the backward
classes as a whole. The above percentages represent the minimum
number of vacancies to be filled in by the appointment of members of
backward classes, but it is open to the appointing authorities to
recruit members of backward classes in excess of these percentages,
if they are otherwise considered suitable for such appointments
vis-a-vis other candidates. Similar percentages are
prescribed for recruitment of backward classes in the services of
local bodies and institutions receiving Government grants-in-aid.
Different percentages varying from 15 to 45 have been prescribed for
appointment of members of backward classes as primary school
teachers in the various districts in the State.
The maximum age-limits prescribed for appointment to
Class III and IV services and posts under the relevant recruitment
rules have been relaxed by five years, instead of three years as
before, in favour of candidates belonging to backward classes.
Thirdly, special attention is devoted to provision
of housing accommodation for backward classes. The Backward Class
Department helps in providing housing sites for members of the
scheduled classes by acquiring lands and disposing of the plots to
individual members at a nominal occupancy price fixed in
consultation with the Collector of the district.
The Post War Reconstruction Scheme No. 219
sanctioned by Government during 1948-49, has been sanctioned as one
of the schemes under the Second Five-Year Plan. The scheme envisages
grant of financial assistance to backward class families in the
State to build their own houses through co-operative housing
societies, etc. Under the scheme loans are granted to housing
societies of backward class persons upto an amount not exceeding 75
per cent of the estimated cost of houses, which is taken to be
anywhere between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 4,000 in industrial areas like
Bombay, Ahmedabad, Poona and Sholapur; Rs. 2,000 in places having
district or borough municipalities and in other areas, the estimated
cost is fixed at Rs. 800, Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 1,500 as the case may
be. The loan is free of interest and is made repayable in
twenty-five annual instalments. If a member of such a society is
engaged in agricultural pursuits, an additional loan not exceeding
60 per cent, of the cost of a shed and barn estimated at not more
than Rs. 100 is also made available to such a member for
construction of a shed and barn. Subsidies are also granted to such
societies to meet their cost of management, etc., at the rate of Rs.
10 per tenement for the first two years and, later on, at the rate
of Rs. 5 per tenement till the entire Government loan is repaid.
These societies are also granted loan free of cost for housing sites
or for Government lands or, where Government lands are not available
Government subsidy equal to the cost of acquisition of private lands
is made available to them. In industrial areas of Bombay, Ahmedabad,
Poona and Sholapur 2½ gunthas of land are made available to a
non-agricultural member, while in other areas only 1½ gunthas
are given. Agricultural numbers get 3 gunthas each, in all the
areas. A limit to the value of land is fixed at Rs. 5 per square
yard in the four industrial cities. In other areas, the land should
be of the value current in lower middle class localities and the
excess costs, if any, should be borne by the societies.
This scheme has undergone a certain revision, as the
concessions given under this scheme are now restricted to societies
of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and ex-criminal tribes
registered after the 14th August 1953. Housing societies of other
backward classes registered after 14th August 1953, are eligible for
concessions under the scheme only in genuine cases of hardships and
with the special approval of Government. Such societies are,
however, eligible for Government lands where available, in all
Fourthly, the economic regeneration of the backward
classes is promoted by various steps. With a view to improving the
technique of the hereditary occupations of these classes, Government
have sanctioned a number of peripatetic parties in the State on 31st
March 1957, for imparting training to artisans and their children in
various industrial subjects. Stipends are granted to students
admitted to the schools. Backward class students are also awarded
scholarships for taking industrial training at the various technical
and industrial institutions.
There are various other measures adopted by
Government for the economic uplift of backward classes. The chief
among them are-
(a) Grant of cultivable waste lands to
(b) Grant of forest lands to backward classes
on agri-silvi system.
(c) Grant of tagai loans.
(d) Provision of special concessions to
backward classes in respect of removal of timber, minor forest
produce, cutting of fuel, etc.
(e) Grant of financial assistance for the
formation of backward class co-operative farming societies.
(f) Grant of forest coupes to backward class
forest labourers co-operative societies at an upset price.
Special attention has also been devoted by the
Government to the welfare of nomadic tribes and semi-nomadic tribes.
Among backward classes, the nomadic and semi-nomadic communities are
perhaps the most backward who could not take benefits of several
schemes. As these communities have no settled way of life, and they
go from place to place in search of living, and are steeped in
illiteracy and poverty, they have not been able to take much
advantage of the various schemes implemented by Government for the
welfare of the backward classes. Government have included special
schemes in the Second Five-Year Plan for the uplift of nomadic
tribes and semi-nomadic tribes. Special schemes such as " Granting
of loans" to the members of nomadic tribes for hawking business and
amelioration of women of nomadic tribes by imparting training in
crafts have been included in the above head; besides the usual
schemes, viz., the opening of ashram schools, balwadis
and sanskar kendras, free supply of books and slates;
provision of hostel facilities; starting of industrial training
centres; grant of financial assistance to labour contract societies
and co-operative housing societies; appointment of propaganda
workers and digging of wells, etc.; and grant of loans and subsidies
to hereditary and trained artisans.
Fifthly, measures had been taken to ensure the
social uplift of backward classes, especially of Harijans. The
Bombay Harijan (Removal of Social Disabilities) Act (X of 1947), and
the Bombay Harijan Temple Entry Act (XXXV of 1947), had been enacted
with a view to bringing about complete removal of untouchability as
far as public and civic rights were concerned. However, with the
enactment of an All-India Act, known as "The Untouchability
(Offences) Act, 1955", the Bombay Harijan Acts referred to above
were repealed in the Bombay State with effect from 8th May 1955. The
Bombay Devadasis Protection Act (X of 1934), has declared unlawful
the performance of any ceremony having the effect of dedicating
girls as devadasis. These unfortunate girls were usually
members of the backward classes.
In addition, Government have enforced laws, such as
the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, and the Bombay
Agricultural Debtors' Relief Act, 1948. These Acts are of general
application and are intended to safeguard the rights of agricultural
tenants, to grant them privileges, and to provide relief to
agricultural debtors. The backward class agriculturists, a large
number of whom are tenants and agricultural debtors, can receive the
benefits of these laws in the same manner as other tenants and
agricultural debtors. In addition, officers of the Backward Class
Department, in the normal course of their duties, help the backward
class agriculturists to secure the relief available to them under
The Backward Class Department has to see that the
policy of Government is fully implemented in day to day
For advising the Backward Class Department in regard
to its activities in the district, there is a special Backward Class
Sub-Committee of the District Development Board for the district.
It is constituted of the Vice-Chairman of the
District Development Board, a non-official nominated by Government,
is to act as the Chairman of the Sub-committee of the Board. The
Backward Class Welfare Officer of the district is the secretary of
the sub-committee relating to the work of amelioration of backward
classes. The functions of the Sub-committee are: -
(a) To provide information regarding the
grievances and needs of Backward Classes.
(b) To form a channel of communication
between the Director of Backward Class Welfare and backward classes.
(c) To give their opinions on questions
referred to them by the Backward Class Board or the Director of
Backward Class Welfare.
(d) To help backward classes by bringing their needs
and grievances to the notice of the local officers concerned.
(e) To take suitable measures for the removal
of untouchability and other disabilities and removal of harmful
social customs among the various backward classes.
(f) To carry on propaganda work as far as
possible among backward classes.
In addition to the work of ameliorating the
condition of Backward Classes through the Government channel,
voluntary agencies engaged in the task of amelioration of backward
classes are given every possible encouragement. Several voluntary
agencies, which are pioneers in this field, are recognised and given
suitable grants-in-aid in the light of their activities. The main
activity of these voluntary agencies is propaganda with a view to
appraise backward classes of the civic rights and privileges
provided by Government for them and also of the directives issued by
Government for the amelioration of their condition. This propaganda
is carried out by workers appointed by the voluntary agencies.
Maintenance of hostels, establishment of ashram schools,
balwadis, sanskar kendras are the other
important activities sponsored by Government undertaken by voluntary
agencies with Government aid. There are in the Bombay State, in all,
sixteen voluntary agencies working for the amelioration of backward
classes and recognised by the Backward Class Department. There are,
also 111 propaganda workers in the State. Out of these, 3 propaganda
workers are working in Kolhapur district, specially for Scheduled