As a 'reward' to the SC and ST communities for their overwhelming support, the government has hiked the allocation to the SC Plan and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) this budget.
As against Rs. 41,561 crore in 2013-14, the government has allocated Rs. 5,05,48 crore for the SC plan and Rs. 31,387 crore for TSP as against Rs. 24,598 crore last year.
The BJP had made huge strides in states such as UP and Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls this year.
"The government is committed to the welfare of the SCs and STs," finance minister Arun Jaitely said while presenting the Union budget in Parliament on Thursday.
To provide credit enhancement facility to young start-up entrepreneurs from the SC community, Jaitely said a sum of Rs. 200 crore will be allocated through a scheme by Industrial Finance Corporation of India.
For the welfare of tribals, the government has announced the "Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana" with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore. The scheme has been lifted out of Gujarat where it has been successfully implemented.
The increased focus on SC and ST community was expected, given their overwhelming support to the ruling party this year.
In UP, for instance, the Jatav community’s support, traditionally a BSP vote bank, played a big role in the BJP wresting as many as 72 seats of the total 80. Similarly in Bihar, the party managed to get the Mahadalit votes which took its tally to 22 in the state.
The government has also announced a series of measures for senior citizens. Acknowledging that a large amount of money is lying as unclaimed amounts in Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts, post offices, saving schemes, etc, it has proposed to set up a committee to examine and recommend how this amount can be used to protect and further the financial interests of senior citizens. The committee will give its report not later than December this year.
Jaitley also pushed up personal income tax exemption limit for senior citizens from ` 2.5 lakh to ` 3 lakh.