Representatives of Dalit and tribal organisations have demanded that the State government formulate a potent law for effective implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plans.

Opinion of SC, ST bodies was enlisted by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on SC/ST Sub-Plans at a workshop held here on Saturday with the stakeholders. Ministers C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, Chairman of the sub-committee, J. Geetha Reddy, P. Satyanarayana, K. Muralimohana Rao and G. Prasad Kumar heard the stakeholders' views patiently for over six hours at the meeting.

Slogan-shouting

The workshop, however, commenced on a sour note when a section of slogan-raising Dalit students and activists stormed the dais even as Deputy Chief Minister started his speech. They alleged that the government was holding Cabinet panel meetings only for political mileage and it lacked sincerity in making a good law.

They entered into an argument with the Ministers and staged a protest sit-in on the dais. It took more than 20 minutes of persuasion by officials and police to take the protesters off the dais to enable smooth progress of the event.

Later, Mr. Rajanarasimha said their government was first to take up the exercise to make a law for effective implementation of SC/ST Sub-Plans in the country. The panel would submit its report to the government in two months by holding such meetings in all districts. They would rest only after drafting a law with clauses to make sub-plan funds non-divertible and non-lapsable, he vowed. Suggestions like creation of a nodal agency, provision for penal action under IPC against officials and Ministers for not spending the allocated funds, action against non-SC/ST officials under SC, ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act, social audit of sub-plan funds and proportionate allotment of funds for SCs/STs in the budget estimates itself were made.

Creation of principal implementation officers posts in every department on the lines of principal information officers under RTI, keeping all information on sub-plans in public domain, setting up ITDAs for non-scheduled areas were other suggestions.