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Posted on Nov 30, 11:41AM | IANS
A three-day special session of the Andhra Pradesh legislature began Friday to give statutory status to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribe sub-plan.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy introduced the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Caste sub-plan Scheduled Tribe sub-plan Planning, Allocation and Utilisation of Financial Resources Bill 2012 in the state assembly.
After the chief minister introduced the bill and highlighted its objectives, Speaker N. Manohar adjourned the house till Saturday.
The bill will be discussed Saturday and Sunday.
The legislative council will take up debate on the bill during the winter session, beginning Dec 10.
With all the political parties extending support to the government move, the bill is likely to be passed without any hurdles.
This will make Andhra Pradesh the first state in the country to give statutory status to the SC, ST sub-plan.
Terming the bill a historic one, Kiran Kumar Reddy said it was aimed at ensuring that the funds allocated to SCs and STs were fully utilised.
"The legislation, which will come into force from 2013-14 budget, will make sure that every rupee reaches targeted groups," he said.
The chief minister said the bill was introduced to fulfill the assurance given by the government to the assembly in March.
The draft bill was prepared on the basis of recommendations made by a cabinet sub-committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha.
He said the law would facilitate comprehensive development of SCs and STs and provide them protection and equality on par with other sections of society.
Kiran Kumar Reddy said the need for such legislation was felt as funds allocated for SC, ST sub-plan were not utilised fully and efficiently, irrespective of the party in power.
"This is true of all the states in the country. Andhra Pradesh will become the first state to make such legislation," he added.
The SCs are allocated 16.2 percent of the budget and STs 6.6 percent, but spending remained mostly on paper as the funds meant for them are diverted for other programmes.
In the plan budget for 2012-13, the state had allocated Rs.8,657 crore under SC sub-plan and Rs.4,060 crore under ST sub-plan.