* Demand for census to ensure SC/ST population pattern
* I-cards for SC/ST to keep fake certificate holders at bay
GUWAHATI: With the Speaker taking the initiative to fathom out the problems hindering the socio-economic development of SCs and STs in the State, the legislators have raised the problems afflicting the two reserved categories of people and mooted measures to solve them. On his part, the minister concerned assured the House that the government will do the needful. Will it? This is something to keep tabs on.
The Assam Legislative Assembly made a mark on Thursday when Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami devoted the entire day of the House for a discussion on the ‘Socio-economic development of STs and SCs in the State’. The discussion has evolved a number of vexed issues like (i) providing a protective shield to tribal belts and blocks, (ii) tackling the menace of non-ST and non-SC people using fake ST and SC certificates to avail various benefits that are not meant for them, (iii) filling up of all backlog ST/SC posts in case of promotion, (iv) issuance of pattas to SC/ST families for the lands under their occupation etc.
To begin with, AGP MLA Bhaben Bharali said, “An area-wise socio-economic census of ST/SC people is a must to ascertain their population patterns. All schemes meant for the ST/SC people should be based on the reports of the census. The need of the hour is the setting up of a separate commission for proper implementation of schemes meant for SC and ST people in the State.”
Taking part in the discussion, Maneswar Brahma of the BPF said, “Nobody in the State administration has the exact figure of backlog SC and ST posts for promotion. While some put the figure at 12,000, some others put it at 16,000. The government should ascertain the exact figure and take a decisive policy to fill them up.”
Ranuj Pegu of the BJP said, “Despite taking up various schemes for the development of ST and SC people, they continue to lag behind because of improper implementation of their schemes.”
Nandita Das of the Congress said, “Many general people avail the opportunities meant for ST and SC people through fake SC/ST certificates. The government needs to make it clear as to what action needs to be taken against such frauds. An area-wise survey of ST/SC populations is a must in the State.”
Imdadul Haque Choudhury of the AIUDF said, “The government shouldn’t be lenient to those using fake SC/ST certificates to grasp opportunities that aren’t meant for them. There should be a system to make the opportunities available for poor SCs and STs, instead of those belonging to the creamy layer in the two categories of people.” By the term ‘creamy layer’, the MLA means the wards of SC/ST MPs, MLAs and IAS officers.
Minister Sum Ronghang said, “The Karbis who are treated as ST(H) in Karbi Anglong aren’t getting the same status in the plain areas of the State. This should be done away with. The amount of funds being allocated for the KAAC (Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council) isn’t also enough for the development of the hill district.”
Independent legislator Bhuban Pegu said, “The scholarship for SC/ST students needs to be given regularly. Besides a census of SC/ST populations in the State, the reservations meant for them should be followed properly.”
State Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya suggested the issuance of identity cards to the SCs and STs to do away with the menace of general people using fake SC/ST certificates.
State WPT&BC Minister Chandan Brahma said that he would try to find out a just solution to each and every grievance raised by the members of the House. “If need be, we may go for amendment to policies and rules,” he said.
As many as 23 legislators took part in the discussion.