Babu Jagjivan Ram (5 April 1908 – 6 July 1986), endearingly called Babuji, was a freedom fighter and a crusader for social justice. He was instrumental in foundation of the ‘All-India Depressed Classes League’, an organization dedicated to attaining equality for the oppressed and the downtrodden. In 1946, he became the youngest Minister in Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s provisional government, the First Union Cabinet of India as a Labour Minister, and also a member of Constituent Assembly of India, where he ensured that social justice was enshrined in the Constitution. As national leader, parliamentarian, union minister and champion of depressed classes, he had a towering presence and played a long innings spanning half a century in Indian politics and rose to the ranks of Deputy Prime Minister (1977-79). Gifted with a flair for political leadership and moved by the ideals and goals of the socio-political events that enveloped the country, Babu Jagjivan Ram played a significant role in scripting our country’s political and constitutional development and social change. A national Foundation called “Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation” has been established in New Delhi in the memory of Babu Jagjivan Ram to propagate his ideology, philosophy of his life and mission and services rendered for the sake of the underprivileged. The Foundation functions as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Article 16 of the Constitution enables the Central Government to make special provisions for the socio-economic development of the deprived sections of the society to enable them to share the facilities at par with the rest of the society. Education is pivotal and foundational for any kind of socio-economic development. Education of Scheduled Castes assumes added importance in the sense that it elevates their social status and equips them with the acumen to take advantage of the emerging opportunities both in employment and other economic activities.
While illiteracy is a general problem for the country cutting across caste, religion, region and such other barriers, its effect on the life and status of the Scheduled Castes stands out prominently as an area of national focus. The females among the Scheduled Caste groups suffer from triple jeopardy in the sense that they suffer from social barriers, then females and then the least literate segment of the society.
The scheme of construction of hostels aims to supplement the efforts of the State Governments for creating a congenial study atmosphere free from the shackles of domestic chores, so as to encourage students belonging to the target groups to pursue their education career without dropping out. Such hostels are immensely beneficial to the SC students hailing from rural and remote areas.
The scheme for construction of hostels for girls was in operation from 3rd Five Year Plan while for boys, the same was started from the year 1989-90. The earlier centrally sponsored scheme of hostels for SC boys and girls has been revised from the 1st of January 2008 and is renamed as “Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatravas Yojna’. The main modifications included in the revised scheme are- (a) 100% central assistance to States/UTs and Central Universities and 90% to deemed universities and private bodies for construction of girls hostel and (b) period of construction of hostels has been decreased from existing 5 years to 2 years.
The object of the Schemeis to provide residential accommodation facilities to SC Boys and Girls studying in middle schools, higher secondary schools, colleges and Universities.
The State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and the Central & State Universities/institutions are eligible for central assistance, both for new construction of hostel buildings and for renovation, repair extension, expansion of the existing hostel facilities while NGOs and deemed Universities in the private sector only for expansion of their existing hostel facilities.
Funding pattern for girls hostel-
· 100% Central Assistance to States / UTs / Universities for construction fresh construction of hostel buildings and for expansion existing girls hostels.
· 90% Central Assistance for NGO and deemed universities in private sector for girls hostel only for expansion of existing facilities
· Central Assistance for boys hostel –
· To States 50:50 basis.
· To Union Territory Administrations 100%.
· To Central Universities 90:10 basis.
· To States Universities/ institutions 45:10 basis (States 45).
· To NGOs and deemed universities in private sector (only for expansion) on 45:45:10(States 45).
In addition to the admissible central assistance under the Scheme, one-time grant of Rs.2500 per student is also provided for making provisions of a cot, a table and a chair for each student.
Some other highlights of the scheme are as follows:
Central assistance is released only for meeting the cost of hostel buildings and the responsibility for maintenance of such hostels rest with the respective State Governments/UT Administrations.
The grants-in-aid to the implementing agencies is released to them directly. The grant would be released in two installments to NGOs/Deemed Universities and in one installment to the State Government/Union Territory Administrations and Central and State Universities/institutions.
In case of girls, the hostels are to be located in areas having low SC female literacy. The girls’ hostels is constructed in close vicinity (as far as possible within a radius of 200 meters) of the educational institution.
The capacity per hostel should not exceed 100 students. However, this can be accepted & considered in exceptional cases, depending upon the need necessity and merit of the case. Thrust is primarily for construction of new hostels for middle and higher secondary level of education.
The proposal of NGOs /Deemed Universities for expansion of existing hostels is to be routed through State Government/UT Administration with their recommendation to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Construction period of hostels reduced to 2 years from the existing 5 years.
A Steering committee under chairmanship of Secretary (SJ&E) monitors and reviews the construction of hostels regularly based on the progress reports, both physical and financial, submitted by the Field Implementing Authorities. For the purpose of effective monitoring, the Ministry/Steering Committee itself conducts or cause field visits by the appropriate agencies/authorities to inspect the projects.
The schemes such as Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatravas Yojna would definitely help realize the dream Babuji cherished for the students from the underprivileged section of our society.