New Delhi: Terming the prevailing caste system as "a badge of shame", the Social Justice Ministry has recommended human rights education at various levels including civil services and other central service training institutions to get rid of caste-based discrimination.

The report of the '12th Five Year Plan Working Group' of the Ministry has observed that the caste system narrows mind and hearts and human rights education with emphasis on its ill effects should be introduced in educational institutions at all levels.

"Children must be helped to see that caste is not a badge of honour, but caste is a badge of shame," the report on 'Empowerment of Scheduled Caste' prepared by the Working Group said.

"They (children) should be helped to see that a big country like India with great ambition and expectations requires large minds and hearts while the caste system narrows the mind and the heart," it said.

The group recommended that human rights education with emphasis on anti-human, anti national and anti-constitutional nature of caste system, caste loyalties, caste biases and caste antagonisms should be introduced in every educational institution at all levels.

"Such human rights education also needs to be introduced in teacher-training institutions, IAS, IPS and other central as well as state service training institutions," the report said.

It said the Union and State Ministers in charge of pre-schooling and higher education should take proactive initiative in making such human rights education a reality and convey the seriousness of central and state government about this task to entire educational machinery.

To ensure action against untouchability, the report has recommends a comprehensive campaign to sensitise community of teachers to make them a bulwark against this in educational institutions.

It has also recommended recognition and reward for panchayats which take initiative to end discrimination against SCs in their areas.

To provide financial support for this purpose, the Working Group in its report has recommended full budgetary support and active socio-political participation in this regard all over the country.