SC/ST panel meet today

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly, which met on Thursday, has decided to hold a three-day session from Friday to transact the SC/ST Sub Plan Bill.

Initially, the government proposed only a two-day session, i.e., on Friday and Saturday, but when the Opposition resisted, dema-nding that they needed time to study the proposed Bill before the debate, the government extended the session by a day, i.e. until Sunday. It was agreed at the meet that the government would introduce the Bill on day one of the brief session i.e., on Friday, and adjourn for the day. This means that the House would meet for not more than 30 minutes on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, there would be discussion and passage of the Bill.

Legislative affairs minister D. Sridhar Babu info-rmed the BAC members that the government was intending to summon the Assembly again from Dec-ember 10 to 21 to take up other business, including consideration of three pe-nding Bills and four Bills replacing the Ordinances that were issued. When Opposition members Gali Muddu Krishnama Naidu, Etela Rajender, Y.S. Vijaya-mma, Yendala Laxminara-yana and others brought to the Speaker’s notice that there were several public issues in the state which needed to be raised in the session, the Speaker intervened. He said that in view of the sanctity attached to the SC/ST Sub Plan Bill, other issues could be rais-ed in the next session from December 10 onwards.

The Telugu Desam and MIM, while welcoming the government’s move to give legislative backing to the SC/ST Sub Plan, demanded that the government have a similar sub plan and extend legislative support for funds earmarked for the BCs and minorities’ welfare. In fact, MIM members said that since minor-ities accounted for 11 per cent of the state’s population, allocation for the mi-norities’ sub-plan should be at least 11 per cent of the state’s annual plan outlay instead of the present 1 per cent allocation towar-ds the minorities’ welfare. The 11 per cent allocation for minorities’ welfare works out to Rs 5,383 crore as against the present allocation of Rs 489 crore out of a total of about Rs 49,000 crore as the state budget.

MIM floor leader Akbar-uddin Owaisi had written to CM N. Kiran Kumar Reddy earlier, asking for the formulation of a mino-rity sub plan along the lines of the SC Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan, a demand he now reiterated. On Thursday, he demanded the government place before the Assembly the report on the SC/ST Sub Plan, submitted by the Ca-binet sub-committee, headed by deputy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha. “We feel the report on the SC/ST Sub Plan has been suppr-essed since the funds have been diverted. The report must be tabled in the Assembly. We want a discussion on BC and minorities’ Sub Plan,” he said.

He was furious over the absence of the CM and Le-ader of the Opposition at the BAC meeting and said it showed their lack of co-mmitment towards welfare of BCs and minorities.

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