In the year 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare. Simultaneously, the Scheduled Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Division were moved from the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Wakf Division from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in May, 1998. Further, in October, 1999, the Tribal Development Division had moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In January, 2007, the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit have been moved out of the Ministry and formed as a separate Ministry and the Child Development Division has gone to the Ministry of Women & Child Development. Now the two departments have been under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment vide notification dated 12.5.2012, namely:- (i) Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag) (ii) Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag) Since renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is entrusted with the welfare, social Justice and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized section of the society viz. Scheduled Caste, Backward Classes, Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens, and Victims of Drug Abuse etc. Basic objective of the policies, programmes, law and institution of the Indian welfare system is to bring the target groups into the mainstream of development by making them self-reliant. Department of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for Welfare for Transgender Persons. The Ministry enacted the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and provisions of the same came into force on 10.01.2020. The Ministry has also prepared “The Transgender Persons(Protection of Rights) Rules,2020” for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act and the same has been notified in the Gazette of India on 29.09.2020. Further, in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, the Ministry, vide notification dated 21.08.2020, has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India is headed by Dr. Virendra Kumar, Hon'ble Union Minister and ably assisted by three Ministers of States namely Shri. Ramdas Athawale, Shri. A. Narayanaswamy & Km. Pratima Bhoumik. Shri R. Subrahmanyam (IAS, AP:1985) is theSecretary of Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.