Social Justice - Laws and Classification

The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955, and the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (POA Act) are two important legislations to address the problems of social discrimination, the prevalence of social evils like untouchability and the increasing cases of exploitation and atrocities against disadvantaged groups. The POA Act provides for special courts/mobile courts for on-the-spot trials and prompt disposal of cases. For more information on the UPSC Exam, check the given link IAS Exam.

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Overview of Social Justice in India

A Centrally sponsored scheme, Implementation of PCR Act and POA Act, was initiated in 1955 to ensure effective implementation of these Acts. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided for strengthening the administrative, enforcement and judicial machinery related to these legislations, publicity and relief and rehabilitation of the affected persons. As the practice of untouchability still prevails, either directly or indirectly, there is a need for stringent enforcement of the existing legislations along with spreading awareness.

Top priority has been accorded to efforts for achieving the national goal of complete eradication of manual scavenging by the end of the Tenth Plan (2007). The programme has two components – conversion of dry latrines into water-borne latrines and training and rehabilitation of scavengers (whose number is estimated at 6,76,000) and to provide them alternative and dignified occupations.

Find the List of Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India by visiting the linked article

The first component of the scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation. The National Scheme of Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and Their Dependents has been transferred to the Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation in 2003-04 to ensure its effective implementation.

Below table gives a broad classification of Social Justice

Classification Details
Low Human Development Index
  1. Unemployment
  2. Unequal distribution of wealth
  3. Health status in India
  4. Education status in India
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  1. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Global Hunger Index
  1. Poverty and Hunger in India
Community Level Healthcare
  1. Health for All

Human Development Index (HDI)

Human Development Index (HDI) is one of the indicators of social justice prevalent in a nation. The 2 best measurements are the United Nations Human Development Index and the World Bank’s Human Capital Index. As per the United Nations Human Development Index, India is ranked very low at 130 out of 189 countries. These indicators take into account the life expectancy at birth, enrollment in schools etc. There are various reasons that contribute to lower rankings.


  1. India has a very huge population and the majority of the labour force lack the required skill sets.

Unequal Distribution of Wealth

  1. Richest 10% of Indians own 4 times more wealth than the remaining 90% of the population which has resulted in a high degree of inequality, non-inclusive growth and low development index.


  1. India spends just 1.5% of its GDP on the health sector.
  2. India has a very high percentage of deaths due to air pollution
  3. India has a very high malnutrition rate, Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).
  4. Government is taking various measures to tackle the above problem.
  5. The government must increase its public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP as suggested in the National health policy 2017.
  6. Ayushman Bharat Yojana was launched in 2018 by the Government to address the primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems in India.


  1. India spends just 3% of its GDP on the Education Sector.
  2. As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, the quality of education in India is highly unsatisfactory.
  3. High dropouts, low employability of graduates, low productivity, low wages are results of the poor education system.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

A huge number of Indians still don’t have access to safe drinking water, and sanitation facilities.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  1. The objective of this mission is to make India open defecation free through the construction of household-owned toilets and community-owned toilets.
  2. A UNICEF report shows that this mission has helped in improving sanitation coverage to 90%.

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