Criteria for grant amended

The Director, Scheduled Castes, has been appointed to formulate a Scheduled Castes Development Policy exclusively for the accelerated and holistic growth of Scheduled Caste communities in the State, Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes A.P. Anil Kumar has said.

Replying to a Calling Attention motion moved by Varkala Kahar in the Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Anil Kumar said the policy being formulated by the government as per the announcement made in the Governor’s address to the House would be exhaustive.

The Minister said the Government would do all it could for the welfare of the Scheduled Caste communities as there were still homeless and landless people. Although they had forged ahead socially, economically and educationally, there were problems that had to be addressed. Mr. Anil Kumar said the government had amended the criteria for increasing lump sum grant, and for houses and land.

The department was able to utilise 95 per cent of the funds last year. This year, 75 per cent of the funds had been utilised till February. The officials were extending support to the government in implementing the projects, Mr. Anil Kumar said in reply to a criticism by Mr. Kahar that the officials were not cooperating.

Minister for Labour and Rehabilitation Shibu Baby John told the House in reply to a Calling Attention motion by A.A. Azeez that the government was aware of the irregularities in the cashew industry sector owing to unauthorised cashew processing. The department had set up a special squad comprising officials of eight departments, as the Labour Department alone could not check the illegal activities.

Pointing out that the Labour Department was finding it difficult to carry out surprise checks with the enforcement squad, the Minister said the trade unions should extend support to it. “There are irregularities keeping the workers in the forefront. Even the dearness allowance was not being paid,” he said.

Mr. John said the government was ready to include trade union representatives in the enforcement squad if there was a consensus on it.

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