1) What is a Caste Certificate and Why is it Needed ?
A Caste Certificate is the proof of one’s belonging to a particular caste like SC/ST/OBC, as specified in the Indian Constitution. The Government felt that the Scheduled Castes and Tribes need special encouragement and opportunities to progress at the same pace as the rest of the citizenry. As a result, as part of the Indian system of Protective Discrimination, there exist certain special privileges granted to this category of citizens, such as reservation of seats in the Legislatures and in the Government Service, waiving off a part or the whole of the fees for admission to schools and colleges, quotas in educational institutions, relaxation of upper age limits for applying to certain jobs, etc. To be able to avail these privileges, a citizen belonging to a Scheduled Caste must be in possession of a valid Caste Certificate.
2) What is the Legal Framework ?
The statutory lists of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, in pursuance of Articles 341 and 342 of the Indian Constitution, were notified for the first time under the Constitution (Schedule Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. These lists have been modified/amended/supplemented from time to time. On the reorganisation of the States, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List (Modification) Order came into force from 29th October, 1956. Thereafter, a few other orders in respect of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes list in some individual States also came into force.
3) What You Need to Do to Get a Caste Certificate ?
A person belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has to apply to the designated authority, i.e., Sub-Divisional Officer of the area where the applicant resides permanently. The Designated Authority will issue the certificate after verification of the claim of the applicant.
The application forms are available from the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate or of the Tehsil or Block office. In case none of your family members have earlier been issued a Caste Certificate, a local enquiry is conducted before issuing the Certificate to you. Proof of residence in the State for a minimum specified period, an affidavit stating to belong to a Scheduled Caste, and the specified court stamp fee are required at the time of application.
4) What is Creamy Layer ?
The Government of India has evolved the criteria for exclusion of certain socially advanced persons/sections from the benefits of reservation available to OBCs in civil posts and services under the Government of India and this is called the "Creamy Layer criteria.
5) Whether backward sections of the religious minorities are also eligible for Inclusion in the lists of OBCs ?
The central lists of OBCs issued by the Government of India for different States and Union Territories do contain entries relating to sections of religious minorities. When a caste/community or group is included in the lists, it is included irrespective of the religion or denomination followed by the members of that caste/community or group.
6) What is the status of Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe with regard to religion ?
As per orders issued, only persons professing either Hindu or Sikh or Buddhist religion are deemed to be members of Scheduled Caste. The Scheduled Tribe may profess any religion.
7) Whether a person of Scheduled Caste origin who has embraced Christian religion or Islam will he be treated as Scheduled Caste ?
8) Can a non-Scheduled Caste or non-Scheduled Tribe person who marries a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe person will get the benefits meant for the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe?
The guiding principle is that no person who was not a Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by birth will be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe merely because he or she had married a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
9) Can a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe person who marries a non-Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes person will continue to get benefit of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ?
10) What shall be the status of the off spring of a couple one of whom is a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe ?
To decide the status of an off-spring of a couple where one of the spouses is a member of Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe, the crucial test followed is to determine whether the child has been accepted by the Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe community as a member of their community and has been brought up in that surrounding and in that community or not. If the child has been accepted by the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe Community and has been brought up in the surrounding of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe spouse then, the child would be treated as Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe ,as the case may be. However, each case is to be examined on its merit. However, in general, the following illustrations are made:
A group may consist of 10 to 20 members. In case of minor irrigation and disabled persons this number may be from 5 to 20. All members of the group should belong to families below the poverty line (BPL). However, a maximum number of 20% and in exceptional cases, upto a maximum of 30% of the members may be taken from families marginally above the poverty line provided they shall not become office bearers and are not entitled to subsidy. A group shall not consist of more than one member from the same family. A person should not be a member of more than one group. Willful defaulters are not entitled to its benefit. 50% of the Groups formed in each Block should be exclusively for women.
Procedure for formation of SHG
In the first meeting names of the group, leader, Secretary and Treasurer are to be decided. The amount of voluntary saving by a member per month is to be decided. A code of conduct is to be devised. A Savings Bank A/C is to be opened in the service area Bank Branch. The amount of savings is to be credited there regularly. Internal lending among the members of the group is to be done. Rate of interest is to be fixed by the group.