Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 10 (IANS) A survey on the scheduled castes (SC) in Kerala has revealed that of the 5.58 lakh families, 25,408 have no home or land of their own.
Out of the SC population in the state, 12.03 lakh are females and 11.49 are males.
The survey under the guidance of S.M. Vijayanand, now additional secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, was conducted by K. Sukumaran and his team with the state owned Kerala Institute of Local Administration as the nodal agency.
The elaborate field survey which took over two years also revealed that 15,984 families had land in their name but no home to claim theirs.
With regard to basic living conditions, it was found that while 1.72 lakh families was huddled in a one room house, some 3.72 lakh had a home with more than one room.
The age profile of the SC revealed that in the age group between 22 to 59 there were 13.60 lakh people, while above 60 age there were 2.35 lakh. When it came to use of electricity, in 2,262 villages, some 0.88 lakh homes had no power.
Regarding sanitation, 68,685 houses had no bathroom, while 62,645 had a non-functional one and 943 families was dependent on public toilets.
For drinking water, only 2.59 lakh families had access.
On employment, in the age group of 15 to 59 years, only 8.30 lakh were working and 0.51 lakh had a permanent job.
When it came to educational qualifications, it was found out that 1,908 had an engineering degree, while 212 were qualified doctors. Some 0.38 percent of the SC population had either a degree or a post graduate degree, and 0.37 percent were illiterate.
Under health, 18,808 were both physically and mentally challenged, while 7,704 were mentally challenged.
Of the 4.78 lakh ration card holders, 1.68 were in the above poverty line category, while 3.10 lakh card holders were below poverty line.
Palakkad district had the highest SC population with 57,083 families, and Wayanad with just 226 families, was the least among the 14 districts in the state.
Speaking to IANS State Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, A.P.Anil Kumar said that the state government had drawn out plan for the upliftment of the SC families.
"This year we will provide houses for 5,000 SC families and for 4,000 families, land will given. We have fixed a target that in three years time there will not be a single SC family who will not have a home of their own.
"More than one lakh bathrooms will be built for the SC community in their homes. For this we will provide Rs.25,000 each," said Kumar, who himself belongs to the SC community.
Voicing their struggle, a SC family member in Kottayam district said: "When it comes to assurance for our betterment, the successive governments do nothing on implementation of their promises."
"But of late things are looking better and we expect this government to make our dreams into a reality," he added.