Poverty in India was rampant before independence & even after independence.It is still a gigantic problem adjunct with many dimensions, which need to be taken care of by the Welfare State.
Realizing the importance of the subject, the Department of Welfare for Depressed was set up by the British regime before independence. Later on, when presidential order regarding declaration of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the year 1950 and subsequently OBC's were recognized as economically, educationally and socially backward classes in each State ,the nomenclature of the Department of Welfare for Depressed was changed to that of Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Punjab.
Since its creation, this department is implementing a number of Educational, Social and Economic Development schemes/programmes for the welfare, social and economic upliftment of lower strata of the society belonging to Scheduled castes, Backward Classes and now Minorities also. The department is mandated to implement the schemes/programmes for different categories, either on share basis with Govt.of India or State funded.
Hence, this department is a beacon of hope for hundreds and thousands poor families of the society. The earlier concept of welfare alone has been shifted to empowerment of poors. Therefore, the main objective of the department is not only doling out grants and other benefits to SC's, BC's and Minorities, rather providing them social justice and empower them to compete and standup with the society.
Govt. of Punjab have made a number of revolutionary changes in administrative reforms which are significantly changing the tenor of governance in Punjab.To keep the pace with paradigm shift in governance, this department is also in the process of adopting IT applications to switch over the payment of scholarships/grants to students/beneficiaries from manual system to Online Banking Management System in case of 17 schemes, to begin with. Four major scholarship schemes for SC's, OBC's and Minorities have already been shifted from manual to online system by creating a Web portal-Ashirwaad.