T. Harish Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi has demanded appointment of ombudsman to keep checks and balances over the monitoring system of SC/ST sub-plans, including SC/ST Development Council for which Chief Minister will be chairman.

Deviating from his usual political outbursts, he offered several productive suggestions while participating in the debate on the SC/ST Sub-Plans Draft Bill in the Assembly on Saturday, while M. Narsimhulu (Telugu Desam) said the Bill would serve no purpose.

Mr Rao recited a Jashua’s poem “world lives on the sweat of dalit but he has no food for himself” and complimented the government for proposing a legislation to back the sub-plans.

Heard by the members in pin-drop silence, he wanted literacy improvement among dalits/ tribes as their illiteracy is the cause of their deprivation.

He sought “recovery” of SC/ST allocations that lapsed so far, amounting to Rs 25,000 crore; a mechanism to social-audit the spending under the sub-plans and; full powers to sub-plan nodal agencies. He proposed an allocation of Rs 5,000 crore annually for minorities.

Mr Narsimhulu said Congress had come out with sub-plans to retain power. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Ministers D. Nagender, D. Manikya Varaprasada Rao and J. Geetha Reddy countered him, saying it was Gandhi and Nehru who facilitated writing of the Constitution by Dr Ambedkar.

Mr Narismhulu said Amebdkar was selected for the job not because he was a dalit but he was intellectual of intellectuals. Gandhi could not be associated with the Congress since he wanted Congress to be dissolved after Independence. It was NTR and Chandrababu Naidu who made dalits leaders, citing G. M. C. Balayogi and K. Pratibha Bharati who served as speakers of the Loka Sabha and the Assembly respectively.

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