13. PROGRAMME UNDERTAKEN FOR THE WELFARE OF SCs/STs AND WOMEN
In accordance with the policy of the Government of India, an SC/ST Cell is functioning in the Department of Commerce. A Liaison Officer is nominated in the Department and in each of the organizations under the Department. So far as services and posts in the Department and organizations under its administrative control are concerned, none of the posts has got exempted from the purview of the reservation orders. The SC/ST Cell takes due care in the administration and compliance of the reservation orders. The Liaison Officer examines and rectifies wherever necessary the roster maintained by the various organizations for ensuring representation to SC/ST/OBC. The Liaison Officer also provides relevant guidelines to the officers in the Department of Commerce, its attached and subordinate offices and the Public Sector Undertakings, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Department of Personnel and Training ( DOP&T) from time to time. The Cell is also looking after the work regarding implementation of the Government Orders in respect of reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to the extent of 27 % in direct recruitment.
A statement showing the total number of Government employees and the number of SC/ST/OBC as on 31.12.2005 in the Department of Commerce, its subordinate offices, Public Sector Undertakings and semi-autonomous bodies etc., under its administrative control is attached at Appendix.
An independent ‘Women Cell’ has been set up in Department of Commerce with the following broad functions:
· Prevention and redressal of sexual harassment at workplace, constitution of Complaints Committee in Department of Commerce, its attached and subordinate offices, PSUs, autonomous bodies etc., monitoring their performance and providing necessary help and guidance.
· Coordination with the Department of Women & Child Development, National Commission for Women and other concerned agencies in respect of the matters connected with welfare and economic empowerment of women and other related issues.
· Review of plan schemes and other programmes of Department of Commerce to ensure that the aspects of women welfare, development and empowerment are promoted through the programmes and schemes of the Department.
· Preparation of Action Plan pertaining to the Department of Commerce for the overall development of women in line with the National Policy for empowerment of women.
· Other incidental matters pertaining to the subject.
The Women Cell took active participation in the various workshops / seminars on gender issues organized by National Commission for Women etc. During the year 2005, no complaint of sexual harassment at workplace was received in the Women Cell.
The Commodity Boards under the administrative control of the Department of Commerce have certain specific schemes under special tribal plans, which are operated with a view to supplementing the efforts of the Government in improving the socio-economic conditions of the SC/ST in the non-traditional areas. The welfare activities undertaken by different organizations attached to this Department are given below:-
The Board strictly followed the post-based reservation system during the year. The Board had implemented the scheme “Coffee Development in North-Eastern Region” with a view to weaning away tribal coffee growers from traditional “Jhum cultivation” that destroys forest cover, leads to soil erosion and impoverishment. The scheme also promotes intensive cultivation of coffee, generating gainful employment to the tribal growers, helping their rehabilitation on a permanent footing in an agro-based enterprise like coffee. An incentive of Rs. 15,000/- per hectare is provided for both consolidation & expansion of coffee besides Rs. 10/- per kg of coffee under Market Support Scheme for procurement, transportation, curing and disposal of Coffee.
The Board is also extending benefits to women in the coffee sector as part of women empowerment and a total of 19151 women were benefited with a financial involvement of Rs.187.84 lakhs during the period from April 2005 to 31st December 2005.
The various schemes operated by the Rubber Board for the welfare of SC/ST category of growers during the year 2005-06 are:
· The Block plantation project for SC/ST was implemented jointly by the Board and the State Governments of Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The project adopts an integrated approach for overall development of SC/ST categories. The concerned State Governments financially support the project. Total area of 2695 hectares has been planted during the year 2004–05 benefiting 6949 rubber growers. During 2005-06, 120 ha have been planted under the scheme covering 110 families.
· The Cash Assistance for Rubber Plantation Development Scheme is implemented for the benefit of SC/ST categories. In the traditional area, the cash assistance is Rs.12000/- per hectare which was disbursed to 22 beneficiaries amounting to Rs. 26400/-. In the non-traditional area, the cash assistance is Rs.16,000 upto 5 hectare, Rs. 12,000 for 5-20 hectares and for the North-Eastern region - Rs.20,000 up to 5 hectares and Rs.16,000 for 5-20 hectares. A total amount of Rs. 49,75,452/- was disbursed to 1992 beneficiaries.
· A total amount of Rs. 12,25,145/- was disbursed to 856 beneficiaries as reimbursement of cost for high yielding planting material.
· Assistance of Rs. 4,18,363/- was provided to 264 beneficiaries for boundary protection fencing material for rubber plantation.
· An amount of Rs. 3,325/- was given to 9 beneficiaries as fee concession for training in rubber cultivation, tapping, processing and manufacturing.
· Tribal Development Scheme is implemented for the benefit of tribal community in traditional area. Under the scheme, 181.29 ha have been planted covering 493 families during the year.
· Training programmes are being specially formulated and implemented for empowerment and welfare of women in the North Eastern States. During 2004-05, a total of 1822 persons were benefited in the NE Region under the scheme.
The welfare of SC/ST receives priority in the implementation of Plan Scheme in the tobacco sector. The Tobacco Board has been assisting farmers from SC/ST communities to improve yield and quality of Flue Cured Virginia tobacco by covering them under various extension and developmental schemes. The estimated expenditure under the assistance schemes during 2004-05 was Rs.12 lakh.
The programmes implemented by the Spices Board for the welfare of scheduled caste /scheduled tribe growers includes support for production of planting material of large cardamom, replanting under large cardamom cultivation area, development of infrastructure for irrigation (large cardamom) and setting up of drier.
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)
As a welfare measure and to upgrade knowledge, the IIFT have nominated the employees of reserved category to attend various training programmes during the year.
The guidelines on reservation policies are strictly followed by the institute and the institute has endeavored to fill all the SC/ST/OBC vacancies.
Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd, Mumbai
The welfare schemes like, Housing Loan, providing Residential Accommodation and Financial Assistance for Higher Studies are available for all the ST/SC employees of the Corporation.
Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC)
Reservation policies both in recruitment and promotion are fairly implemented at the Corporate Office and the Regional Offices. An SC/ST Cell exists and a Chief Liaison Officer has been appointed in the Corporate Office and Liaison Officers have been appointed in each Regional Office to ensure compliance of the orders and instructions of the government directives pertaining to reservations and other concessions, as admissible to these employees. Certain relaxations were given to SC/ST in recruitments and promotions. In promotions to the level of Officer Cadre, reservations are applicable under seniority-cum-fitness upto the level of Sr. Manager and under seniority-cum-merit upto the level of Dy. Manager. Post Based Rosters are being maintained cadre-wise both for direct recruitment and for promotions. Further, SC/ST representatives are nominated in all interview committees for direct recruitment and departmental promotions. The total strength of employees as on December 2005 was 2037 out of which 422 employees belong to SC and 155 to ST category. In terms of percentage of representation of SC and ST, this works out to 20.71% and 7.60%. Women employees represented 16.34% (337 employees) of the total manpower. During the period, out of a total number of 800 employees nominated for various training programmes, 136 SC and 20 ST employees were nominated. There is a provision for reservation in the allotment of residential quarters to SC/ST employees. The wards of SC/ST employees are also given 5% relaxation for merit scholarship.
The Women in Public Sector (WIPS) activities within the Organisation aim at networking, experience sharing, interacting with various organisations and other PSUs and women bodies like National Commission, Women and Child Development Ministry, ILO, DPE, NGOs and other such institutes etc. seeking to enhance women's role at the workplace. Women employees from the Organisation are also encouraged to participate in regional and national meets. Special training programmes for all round development, increasing competency levels and inculcating enhanced value systems were also given. WIPS apex members have also as part of their action plan offered to render counseling services. A committee headed by a senior female officer of the rank of GM, duly assisted by two other lady officers at middle management level has been set up at Corporate Office to look into grievances and cases of sexual harassment of women at work. Such committees are also functioning at various Regional Offices. A women employee of the Corporation is also a member of the Committee on Empowerment of Women set up by Standing Conference on Public Enterprises for all PSUs and they are holding regular meetings in this connection for implementing various programmes, as decided at the apex level of PSU Women Employees Forum. A separate ladies’ room, an exclusive ladies' carrom club, special relaxation to women on important festivals / occasions, a special contribution from the welfare fund exclusively for women are some of the practices in vogue to make working environment for women more congenial.
State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. (STC)
All the directives/notifications/guidelines issued by the Govt. of India on reservation for SC/ST in government service are strictly followed. One year relaxation is given to SC/ST employees in the qualifying period of service at each stage of promotion upto the level of ‘Office Manager.’ under the Time Bound Promotion Policy in the unionised cadres. Additional conveyance allowance @ 5% per month is allowed subject to a maximum of Rs.100/-. A relaxation of 5 percent in marks is allowed to the wards of SC/ST employees while considering for grant of merit scholarship. SC/ST employees were nominated to various training programmes (including awareness programmes) held both in-house and outside. To prevent sexual harassment, a Complaint Committee headed by a female manager has been constituted. In the matters of transfer and posting, both husband & wife were posted at the same station to the extent possible.
Projects and Equiptment Corporation (PEC) Ltd.
All directives on reservation to ensure adequate representation of persons belonging to SC, ST are followed. A 5% relaxation is given to the ward of SC/ST employees for availing merit scholarship. A Time Scale Promotion Scheme for staff cadre is given and qualifying period for promotion of SC/ST personnel is relaxed by one year at each stage of promotion.
In compliance with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a Committee has been constituted to look into and deal with complaints of sexual harassment at work place. Conduct and Disciplinary Rules were also amended making sexual harassment of women employees at work place as misconduct.
Guidelines on reservation in services are complied with in ITPO and Liaison Officers have been nominated to look after the interest of SCs/STs. In every Department Promotion/Selection Committee meeting, an officer of appropriate level belonging to SC/ST category has been associated to look after the interest of SCs/STs. To achieve excellence in performance, a number of training programmes, seminars and workshops were organized. A Women Cell has also been constituted to look after the welfare of the women employees.