Date: December 4, 2013
Minister also promises to add strong gender component
New Delhi. Jairam Ramesh has assured to bring the bill for the Central legislation on Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) in the coming winter session of the parliament itself. Union Minister for Rural Development made this assurance to a delegation of Dalit and Adivasi leaders, representing the National Coalition in SCP/TSP Legislation (NACSTL) in New Delhi on Wednesday. This meeting happened a day after an all party round table conference yesterday strongly endorsed such a legislation to be brought at the earliest.
Union Minister discussed at length about the proposed Central legislation on Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan. The Bill, if passed will be one significant step to end the injustice of diversions, non-allocation and lapses of crores of rupees meant to bridge the gap between the SC-STs and socially advanced groups. Members of delegation comprised prominent Dalit and Adivasi leaders as well as activists including Manorama Ekka, Mallepalli Laxmaiah, Ghanshyam Bhagat, Paul Divakar, Ravi Kumar, Anjaneyalu, Asha Kowtal and Nikhil Dey.
Dalit and Adivasi groups across the country have been campaigning for this bill for several years now and have worked tirelessly to build pressure on the UPA Government to ensure that the Central legislation is introduced in the winter session of Parliament, commencing tomorrow. Jairam Ramesh will initiate the discussions in this regard with his cabinet colleagues. It is learnt that the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Minister of Tribal Affairs and the Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi have given their full cooperation to this proposed legislation.
Women from Dalit and Adivasi communities have also insisted that this legislation will not bridge the severe development gaps, unless it includes special allocations, provisions for stringent monitoring mechanisms and adequate representation in the planning and implementation of the schemes with strong gender perspective. Paul Divakar, Convenor of the (NACSTL) expressed that the commitment of UPA towards SCs and STs should be made visible by introduction and passing of the special legislation to ensure economic justice.
Earlier, all major parties across political spectrum yesterday came together on a table to raise voice for rights of Dalits and Adivasis. They felt that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have not been given their dues enshrined in the constitution and it was time that this is taken in a more committed manner to bring these communities at par with larger section of the socio-economic framework. They agreed that political class need to take more affirmative action in this regard. Several senior party leaders and representatives from major political parties like CPI, CPM, BJP, RLD, BJD and many other MPs and political leaders promised to support the bill, as and when it is placed before the parliament.
Among those who participated in the discussion included General Secretary of the CPI S. Sudhakar Reddy, Senior CPI leader D. Raja, Srinivas Rao of CPI (M), Kalyan Singh Maan of RLD, BJP MP Sanjay Paswan, Shashibhushan Behra of BJD, G. Devarajan of All India Forward Block, former Secretary to Government of India P.S. Krishnan, Chairman of the ICSSR Prof S.K. Thorat, Director of Centre for Dalit Studies Mallepalli Laxmaiah, Prof. Vimal Thorat and convener of NACSTL Paul Divakar. BJP national General Secretary Murlidhar Rao was also present on the occasion.
To keep the pressure on, thousands of Dalits and Adivasis will protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi from December 5th onwards under the banner of NACSTL. This coalition comprises 354 Dalit and Adivasi organizations from 23 states across the country, working towards strengthening economic rights of Dalits and Adivasis, with a special focus on inclusion of SCPs and TSPs in Union and State budgets.
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