The state government initiatives to issue caste certificates along with the projects taken up for SC, ST and OBC people have created a major change in their lives. People belonging to SC, ST and OBC require caste certificates to get the benefits that they are entitled to.
To get jobs and during promotion, caste certificates are essential. The Left Front government that had already talked about the welfare of the masses had actually oppressed them in the name of welfare. The patta of land which were given to the SC, ST and OBC people were kept in CPI(M) party offices to ensure that they vote for the party. It was because of this in the SC, ST and OBC and tribal belts the party did so well even without doing any work in the past 34 years. Similarly, in case of issuing caste certificates, the political affiliation of the families was taken into consideration. Those who supported Congress or Trinamool Congress ran from the pillar to post to get caste certificates. Consequently, they could not avail the benefits of the schemes meant for them and slowly became poorer.
After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ensured that there were no politics over issuing of caste certificates.
In 2008-09 during the Left Front regime, 30,887 caste certificates were issued among ST people. During the same period, 17, 9117 certificates were issued for SC and OBC people. The situation dramatically changed after 2011. In 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 , 46,861, 50,562, 60,056, 85,272 and 102,104 ST people got caste certificates. During this period 58,2109, 68,2724, 92,6995 and 108,8408 SC and OBC people received caste certificates.
In 2016 17 till June, 17,275 ST people got caste certificate and in the same period 189,282 SC and OBC people got caste certificates.
These certificates have changed their lives. The jobs of kendu leaves collectors have been assured and they are getting pension on attaining 60 years age. If they are injured during work they are getting accident benefits. These people come from the society’s poorest of the poor strata.
The SC and ST students are given coaching free of cost in Delhi to appear for the civil service examination conducted by the union public service commission. Eklavya model school run by the Ramakrishna Mission has been set up at Jhargram in Jangalmahal to impart education to the ST students.
A senior official of Backward Classes Welfare department said that changes in the lives of SC, ST and OBC people that had taken place in the past five years were remarkable with more schemes coming for them are in the future.