"Social justice for economically weaker sections, irrespective of caste and religion, is the need of the hour."In this context, critically examine the steps taken by government over last few years to achieve social justice.

Social justice stands for justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. The Oxfam report suggests that about 1% of Indians hold about 58% of wealth. The preamble explicitly offers social justice to the Indians.

  • Mudra Yojana: Economic justice and social justice doesn’t operate in isolation Mudra Yojana with emphasis towards women and entrepreneurs from backward classes aims to create equal opportunities for weaker sections to ensure social justice. The achievement of targets for loan disbursals under the scheme is a positive step. But the other component of refinancing which is vital for ensuring the sustainability of business is lagging behind.
  • Education loans: Education builds awareness and provides for a right based approach for the social justice. Education loans empower even those from economically weaker sections to avail benefits under the scheme. But the high interest rates and the increasing unemployment and under employment is restricting the abilities in the repayment. This is causing troubles to the people from the economically weaker sections.
  • National Skill Development Mission: Skill enhances the employability of an Individual. Skilling can aid in economic empowerment a step towards social justice. Through Industry collaboration the Skill India mission is aiding making the youth more employable. But the limitations of the exercise were brought out by the report of Sharadha panel where it called the model a venture of crony capitalism.
  • Increased allocation to MNREGA: MNREGA has become a boon for addressing the issues of rural unemployment and rural economy distress due to persistent droughts. The availability of employment through rights based approach has resulted in empowering them to move up in social ladder and in social justice. The right to work also resulted in hindrances from state in registering workers as inability to provide jobs will result in giving allowances whose financial burden falls on the states.
  • National Social Security Assistance Scheme: The national social security assistance scheme has following components like widow pension, old age pension, disability pension, Annapurna scheme to address various issues of senior citizens. But lack of financial inclusion and financial literacy has resulted in large number of people being left out from the benefits of the scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana: The maternity benefit scheme to provide assistance to women for poor and vulnerable families by partially reimbursing the loss of wages. The scheme is watered down version of the Indira Gandhi Matritva sahyog Yojana which provided more benefits when compared to the present scheme.

The approach based on caste and religion had led to annihilation among the masses who were left out. The approach which is based on irrespectiveness of caste or religion makes them more inclusive.
It has to be kept in mind that social justice doesn’t operates in isolation, the justice is a triad of social, economical and political each complementing the other. Hence the schemes must concentrate on a holistic view to enshrine the justice social, economic and political as enshrined in the constitution.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“Social justice for economically weaker sections, irrespective of caste and religion, is the need of the hour.” In this context, critically examine the steps taken by government over last few years to achieve social justice. (250 words, 15 Marks)

Published: April 11, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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