Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has regretted that “adequate sensitivity and understanding” has not been shown to the disadvantaged groups in the country, urging that a change in mindset is needed to make them “equal partners in our development processes”.
“Unfortunately, it cannot be said that we have shown adequate sensitivity and understanding that are required to deal with the special problems of these disadvantaged groups,” Singh said.
He was inaugurating the state welfare ministers’ conference in New Delhi.
“Progress has been made, but this progress falls far below expectations and far below the needs of our country. They are and should be considered as equal partners in our development processes.”
“The root of the problem of exclusion from the national mainstream lies in social prejudices and associated discrimination,” said Singh.
“What can we do to become a more humane and socially progressive society and thereby a more developed society? It appears to me we can begin by changing a mindset that sees people of disadvantage not as a productive national resource that they are but as a marginal section of society at the fringes of our policy establishment,” he said.
His address suggested that the chief task of state governments was to provide physical security so as not to let atrocities against SCs, STs and senior citizens that continues with upsetting regularity.
“It is shocking that the conviction rate for cases of atrocities against SC/STs is less than 30 percent, against the average of 42 percent for all cognizable offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).”
“The state governments therefore need to give more attention to this important issue. Court cases should be pursued diligently and on priority basis,” he maintained.