Commission for Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Backward Classes of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India

CBCI CENTRE, 1 Ashok Place, Gole Dakkhana, New Delhi, 110 001
Tel: 011/3344470, 3344695, 3344453

Most Rev.Malayappan Chinnappa,
Chairman, Vellore
Commission Members
Most Rev. Johannes Gorantla
Most Rev. Thomas Bhalerao
Fr. S. Lourdusamy
Executive Secretary


Motivation for Community Development
Proposals for Empowerment of Dalits and Tribals
Intensive Coaching for Employment
Equal Rights for Dalit Christians
Plan of CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC for Future Action
Proposals to CBCI General Body for Appropriate Action

Plight of Dalit Christians : The Caste system has seeped into Indian society and it is prevalent among all the sections of society. Dalit Christians, forming the majority in the Christian community also suffer humiliation, discrimination and socio, educational disabilities even after conversion due to the traditional practice of untouchability in the Church and in society. The Church in India has condemned the practice of discrimination against Dalits and constantly reminded the Christian community to maintain equality and justice in all levels. It is a sad reality that still, caste discrimination is prevalent in some parts of the Church in India. They are also denied their fundamental right of reservation by the Government on the basis of religion. This twice discriminated community crave for equal rights and brotherhood in the church and in the society.

Plight of Tribals : Extreme poverty with all its effects: isolation, illiteracy, oppression by non-tribals and the consequest fears, resentments, suspicions, Government negligence and police intimidation have been some of the important causes of Tribal marginalisation. Displacement from their fertile land and forest have driven them to a pathetic life without rehabilitation. For centuries the Tribals have suffered all kinds of injustices silently, submissively, and helplessly, without resistance.



Seminar on "Lay Leadership Training for Development"

A Regional Seminar "Lay Leadership Training for Development" sponsored by the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC was organized by the TNBC Commission for SC/ST/BC at the Deepam Complex, Karumandapam, Tiruchirappalli - 620 001, from 26 - 28 June 1998. There were 40 participants: (30 men and 10 women) representing the dioceses, and also the NGOs (DCLM). Dalit christian liberation movements participated in the seminar.


Leadership Seminar on "Community Development"

A Seminar on Community Development to the IAS students of two batches (1996-97 1997-98) was conducted at Deepam, Trichy on 30 June 1998. The purpose of the seminar, besides bringing them together for an evaluation and motivation, was mainly to impress upon them their role and responsibility as the leader of the community.


Leadership Seminar On "Integrated Development of Tribals"

A Seminar on "Integrated Development of Tribals" was held at the Social Development Centre (SDC), Ranchi on 27th -29th July 1998. Delegates from all the dioceses of Chotanagpur, Santhal Parganas and neighboring tribal areas namely Ambikapur, Bhagalpur, Daltonganj, Dumka, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur, Khunti, Muzaffarpur, Rourkella, Sambalpur and Simdega participated in the seminar. The speakers focused on the present status of the Tribals and the role of the Tribal leaders in the development of the community. They stressed more on committed leadership for the integrated development of tribals.


National Seminar on "The Development of Depressed Classes"

As the Church in INDIA is preparing to celebrate YESU KRIST JAYANTI 2000, the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC considered that it is a most appropriate occasion to express the aspirations of the Dalit Community and involve all the sections of the Christian Community in the process of empowerment of Dalits in the Church and in the Society. Hence, a National Seminar . On "The Development of Depressed Classes" was held on 23-25 October 09 at Sneha Deepam, Alamelumangapuram, Vellore. The delegates from various dioceses, regional commission secretaries and CRI representatives participated in the Seminar.

Most Rev. A.M. Chinnappa, Chairman of the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC presided over the inaugural session, and shared his vision of liberative leadership based on the Biblical leaders Moses and David. Dr. James Massey, member of the National Commission on Minorities inaugurated the seminar and gave the key note address. The objective of the seminar was Empowerment of Dalits in the Church and Society



Seminar on "Empowerment of Tribals" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti 2000

The United Christian forum for human rights is composed of all the churches in India. The Office of the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC served as the secretariat for this forum. The Commission which has been training ‘leadership’ for living the values of Kingdom of God, colloborated with this forum. The commission for SC/ST/BC took an active role in organising a public meeting and Rally held on 4th Dec. 1998, and bringing out a FULL LIST OF ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS with details.



Kerala Regional Seminar on The Development of Depressed Classes

The Kerala Regional Seminar, on the Development of Depressed Classes in view of YESU KRIST JAYANTHI 2000, was held on 18th and 19th of December 1998 at Spirituality Centre, Manganam, Kottayam in Kerala State. 80 participants who discussed the plight of Dalit Christians in Kerala passed resolutions for development.



Tamil Nadu Regional Seminar "The Empowerment of the oppressed"

A two day Regional consultation (Tamilnadu) Region was convened at TASOSS, Trichy on 11 & 12 May 1999 under the Title "The Empowerment of the oppressed and Jubilee-2000". The consultation was jointly organised by the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC in collaboration with the TNBC Commission.

Numbering about 84, the consultation was participated in by a wide spectrum of persons in the field: the secretaries of the TNBC Commissions, Secretaries of the Diocesan Social Service Societies, Secretaries of the Diocesan SC/ST/BC Commissions, the Executive members of the TNCRI, the General Body members of the Tamilnadu Dalit Christian Development Forum and the representatives of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. The participants identified areas of concern and formed relevent action programmes for equalities and brotherhood in the church and in the society.



Rally to Preserve Reservation to Dalits

The All India confederation of SC/ST organisations, in collaboration with the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC a held Rally and Dharna at Supreme Court on 1st of September, 99 to protest against the Verdict of the Apex court on reservation, denying the due rights of SC/ST and OBC. Dalit Christians and backward class Christians also are affected by this judgment because they are given the privilege of reservation under OBC quota. The association of SC/ST/BC and minorities resolved to continue the struggle for justice. A memorandum was submitted to Chief Justice of India to review and revoke the Supreme Court verdict on the reservation.


" Empowerment of the Oppressed People" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti – 2000

Kerala Regional Seminar – "Empowerment of the oppressed people" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti – 2000" was held at the Renewal Centre, Ernakulam on 18 – 20 July, 1999. The seminar was jointly organised by CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC and KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC.

The representatives from different Dioceses, DCMS Organisation (Dalit Catholic Mahajana Sabha), Major Superiors of Religious congregations in Kerala, K.C.Y.M. (Kerala Catholic Youth Movement), CML (Cherupushpa Mission League) and K.C.F (Kerala Catholic Federation) participated in the seminar. It was heartening to witness more than 140 delegates participating in all the proceedings of the seminar.


Seminar on "Empowerment of Tribals" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti 2000

The Jharkand Regional Seminar on "Empowerment of Tribals" , sponsored by the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC was held at SDC, Ranchi on 12-15th of October 1999. The Bishops from the Regional Bishop’s Council, Secretaries of Diocesan Social Services Socities, and representatives of the CRI, Lay association, Church related organisations and N.G.Os participated in the seminar. They discussed the life of Tribals in Jharkhand region and decided to implement effective programmes for Empowerment.


(A) Dalits : After having analysed the life situation, the problems and the root causes of the problems, the participants unanimously request the Bishops, Priests, religious and people, realising their roles, to involve themselves in the process of EMPOWERMENT OF DALITS IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE SOCIETY.


  1. To ensure equality and brotherhood in the Church
  2. To urge Religious, Diocesan Commissions, heads of institutions and Church related organisations to implement the action plans, proposed by the Church.
  3. To facilitate Dalit vocations to Priesthood and religious life.
  4. To establish SC/ST/BC Commissions with full infrastructure
  5. To make ‘Dalit Theology’, incorporated in the syllabus of the seminaries
  6. To propose Dalit candidates for Bishopric wherever it is possible


  1. To involve themselves in the liberation and empowerment of Dalits, the oppressed people.
  2. To motivate the people through liturgy, preaching and action for equality and justice.
  3. To establish Parish councils with proportionate representation of Dalits.


  1. To adopt Dalit villages as their mission area and engage themselves for the development of the depressed.
  2. To follow the policy of reservation in Education and Employment.
  3. To help the poor and weak students through special coaching and remedial classes.
  4. To utilize education and personal power for the empowerment of Dalits.

People: (Laity)

1. To organise themselves as a "people movement" which is self reliant and sustainable by their own contribution for realising the vision of empowerment.
2. To encourage inter – caste marrigaes for eradication of caste discriminatin and building unity in the community.
3. To uplift the weaker section in the community by sharing their resources.
4. To build up selfless and committed leadership for social transformation

(B) Empowerment of Tribals : Participants during the seminar discussed the present condition of Tribals and discussed the various aspects of their empowerment. Their aspirations and expectations are expressed through following proposals to be implemented by all the sections of the Church for the empowerment of Tribals.

  1. To provide them training for leadership and capacity building in parishes, dioceses and at regional levels to form themselves as committed leaders to work for Integrated Development of Tribal Community.
  2. To develop the economic status of the Tribals, the diocesan social service societies, Catholic Charities, Catholic Cooperative Society and other agencies are urged to help eligible tribals to undertake income generation programmes.
  3. To provide basic education to all the children
  4. To motivate the students for continuation of their education
  5. To train the youth for job oriented courses and competitive exams for obtaining jobs.
  6. To collaborate with N.G.Os and secular organisations for obtaining compensation and rehabilitation to the Tribals who are affected by displacement.
  7. To revive tribal culture and history for building up unity among the community
  8. To build up GRAM SABHA and SELF HELP GROUP in all the dioceses. Xavier Institute of social services has volunteered to train the people for Gram Sabha and Self Help Groups in all the diocese of Jharkhand.

( Education for Empowerment )

The CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC has been training Dalits/Tribals for central and state services in order to uplift the oppressed communities in the society, and our programme "Intensive Coaching for Employment", also provides them leadership formation for social transformation. 350 students have gone through our comprehensive training and we are happy to note that some of our students have obtained jobs as Deputy Collectors, District Superintendent of Police, Registrars and other executive jobs. Several students are going to appear in the last stage of interview for Group I executive jobs in the states of Bihar, Ranchi and Andhra.

Although none of the candidates cleared the last stage of the exam to become Civil servants in the Central Government, the review Committee recommended the continuation of the programme because it has motivated the Dalits/Tribals to aspire for higher offices and has inspired them to continue upward mobility with confidence. The perseverance of the candidates will certainly lead them to success, and they will be placed in powerful positions to empower the oppressed communities by their services.

  1. Comprehensive Education

Academic Education: Intensive Coaching for employment programme provides multi dimensional training. While training the students for UPSC Civil Services exam to obtain IAS, it also prepares them to appear in all the competitive job oriented exams, making them qualified to secure jobs in other cadres of public and private sectors. General guidelines on each subject were given in the beginning, guiding the students to understand the subjects. A well equipped library is maintained in all the centres. Students purchase the reference books and guides. The professors provide orientation and sufficient guidelines to put them on the right track, preparing themselves systematically to approach the exams.

Awareness Education: Leadership qualities and personality development techinques were emphasized very much by organizers, visiting administrative leaders. The role of the Dalit youth in community development was well deliberated during special sessions. Life history of renowned and dynamic leaders inspired them. Their experimental study of the society convinced them to commit themselves to lead their people for liberation. There were also personality and leadership tests conducted. The students who entered the Centre with fear and an inferiority complex showed improvement.

Coaching for Main Exam and Interview : Those students who pass through the prelim exam will continue their training for the main and for interview in Delhi, because renowned professors are available in Delhi to guide the students for the final and the toughest exam.

B.    Postal Coaching for Central and State Services

Guidance : Study material is comprehensive, concise and examination oriented in nature. It’s aim is to make available almost all the relevant materials on every subject to the candidates, and reading material that will cover all the aspects of the subjects. Orientation, clarification and personal guidance will be provided by renowned Professors for systematic preparation. Seminars or camps will be conducted in different centres for awareness and motivation to form committed leadership for social transformation. At the end of the course one or two model tests will be conducted to asses the progress of the candidates. Students should pay a small amount as fee as a sign of their resposibility and commitment.

Exams :

  1. UPSC Civil Services Exams for 32 administrative Services in Central Govt.
  2. State Public Services Commissions Group I exam for administrative jobs in the state.
  3. Staff Selectin Commission exam for officers’ cadre in various departments of Central Govt.
  4. Banking recruitments Board exam for probationary offices in the Banks.
  5. Defence Services Exam for officers cadres.

C.  Coaching Centres Duration

a. Ranchi (Hindi Medium) 7 months residential course

b. Kottayam, Kerala (English Medium) " " "

c. Hyderabad, A.P. (English Medium) " " "

d. Shillong (English Medium) " " "

e. Trichy (English Medium) 450 hours of coaching

D.    Number of Candidates

a. Candidates trained in the past 2 years 350

b. Total candidates in 5 centres 150

c. Total postal coaching candidates 60

E.   Publications

We have published two booklets for guiding the students to appear in UPSC Civil Services Exam and other competitive exams to facilitate aspirants to secure Clerical, Managerial and Administrative jobs in public and private sectors.

(1) Hand Book "Education for Empowerment". It is a comprehensive guide for Civil services exams. Each candidate for Civil services should possess this book. It contains syllabus, complete information about strategy of optionals, methodology of study, tips for the exam, and list of relevant study materials. The "Education for Empowerment", programme of the commission is well described in this book.

(2) Booklet "Directory of Competative Examinations": This booklet contains all the information about the competitive examinations conducted by ‘Staff Selections Commission’, Banking Services recruitments boards, State public services commission, Railway recruitments, Defence Services and other agencies for various jobs in the Centre and State Governments.


  1. Human Rights Rally To Demand Equal Rights to Dalit Christians: 

Three Thousand youth, coming from every nook and corner of India along with Religious Heads, Christian & Dalit leaders, participated in a convention on 3rd October, 1998 in the national capital, demanding the long pending Constitutional Rights For Dalit Christians. The President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, Member of National Integration Council and Archbishop of Delhi, His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Alan de Lastic inaugurated the rally at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Later a small delegation consisting of religious heads and youth representatives met the President Shri K.R. Narayanan and submitted the Memorandum. The President assured the delegation that he would place the demand of the Christian Community before the government, with his recommendation. The copy of the memorandum was also submitted to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.

B. Demand and Response : 

The Christian community of India is dismayed at the inordinate delay of the Government to render justice. To the Christians in India, the past 45 years, have been years of struggles seeking social justice from the Union of India through Relay Fast, Nation-wide Closure of Christian Educational Institutions, Mass Rallies, Hunger Strikes, Prayer Meetings held through out-the country.The demand for equal rights to Dalit Christians has been justified by the Commissions appointed by the Government, Judiciary, Legislature and successive Governments, but justice is being delayed due to a craze for political gain, and absolute political will is lacking. This Human Rights issue has been converted into a political issue to satisfy a section of people by denial of Constitutional Rights to Dalit Christians.

C. Present Situation : 

The Commission has already submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, Hon’ble Minister for law and justice Shri. Ram Jethmalani, other Ministers and all party leaders urging them to press the Government to fulfil its assurance, given on the floor of the Parliaments house. We also request all the Bishops and the leaders to persuade the regional party leaders and cabinet Ministers to raise the question in the Parliament regarding Government’s assurance.

BJP leaders while replying to the delegation asserted that their party will not make any more interventions on this issue for various reasons. The Indian Government has extended the reservation to SC/ST to one more year. During the debate in the parliament (Rajya Sabha) on 28th October, 1999 Minister for Law and Justice Shri. Ram Jethmalani assured us that the Governments will consider the proposal of Shri Eduardo Falairo M.P for equal rights to Dalits in Christianity and Islam. Discession on this issue is also held among BJP leaders. Shri Rajagopal M.P is assigned the responsibility of preparing a draft.


After having examined the proposals and recommendations of the Christian community in India, the commission resolved to take up the following programmes for the empowerment of Dalits/Tribals and Backward Classes.

1. To organise the seminars and programmes of inter-action to motivate all the Sections in the Church to wipe out the discrimination and the caste practices at all the levels and to make collective efforts for the integral development of the Dalit and Tribals.

2. To form a development forum composed of Bishops, Dalits/Tribals leaders and representatives of Regional CRI, Multipurpose Societies, Commissions, other bodies etc. to monitor the implementation of programmes for the development of Dalits/Tribals.

3. To make a scientific survey by Institute of Development studies on socio, economic and educational disabilities of Dalit Christians in India for filing the case in the judiciary and strengthening our demand in the Parliament.

4. To Continue the struggle along with Human Rights associations, SC/ST Employees Federation, and Dalit/Tribal movements for Equal Rights to Dalit Christians and justice to the displaced Tribals.

5. To involve in lobbying in Delhi in order to persuade the supporters who are in the ruling party alliance as well as in other parties to press the Govt. to extend equal rights.

6. To continue the intensive coaching and postal coaching to the students for obtaining jobs in the public and private sectors

7. To publish booklets: (a) "The Empowerment of Dalits" (b) "The Empowerment of Tribals" (c) "Government’s programmes for community developments"


We are thankful to the members of CBCI for having declared action programmes, in the message of the CBCI at Varanasi 1998 to be implemented in all the dioceses for the developments of Dalits/Tribals, but we regret to note that no diocese responded to our call regarding information about the implementation of programmes. Hence the commission appeals to all the members to provide details of implementation of the programmes, recommended by CBCI general body in Varanasi.

  1.  Practice of discrimination in any form should be abolished with time bound action by appointing a monitoring team which identifies places and forms of discrimination practiced at all levels, and solves this problem with the cooperation of all the sections in the Church.
  2. Dalits deserve membership and leadership in the administration of the Church related organisations. Personnel from the Dalit Community need to be appointed in the Diocesan Curia, Religious institutions, Educations institutions in the Diocese as well as in the Regions, proportionate to the percentage of Dalit population and it has to be monitored by the local Ordinary.
  3. There must be recruitment and promotion of vocations from the Dalit Community for priesthood and religious life according to the size of the population in the Diocese.
  4. A policy of reservation both in admission and employment for Dalits/Tribals must be followed by dioceses and religious congregations.
  5. Many dioceses and regions do not have either a Commission or any other structure to contact for Dalit development activities. The formation of Commission would enable the National Commission to operate in those areas.
  6.  Since the privilege of reservation in education and employment are denied to Dalit Christians, a scholarship amount will be an incentive and token of  encouragement to complete their studies. 
  7. Our Schools and prestigious Colleges are above reach of the Dalit/Tribals Communities. The students trained by the Commissions expressed their distress that they could not avail of the services, rendered by these institutions. The Church has only educational power at it disposal therefore, the Church  should decide to utilise the available educational resources for Empowering  Dalit/Tribal Communities.

We thank all the bishops for having extended their kind cooperation to the Commission in the implementation of the programmes for the empowerment of Dalits/Tribals and backward classes.

Thanking you

Fr. S.Lourdusamy, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC

Bishop A.M.Chinnappa, Chairman, CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC


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