Describing it as a boon for weaker sections, Congress leader Panabaka Krishnaiah said that the SC, ST sub-plan and its legal status would effectively help in prevention of diversion of funds meant for the development of SCs and STs.

He refuted the allegations, saying that the sub-plan issue was being discussed in the government for over two years and that it has not been taken up keeping in view the 2014 elections. “It is a milestone in the entire history of India. No other State has taken up such an initiative to improve the lot of SCs and STs,” he added.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Krishnaiah charged the main opposition Telugu Desam Party with trying to stop the efforts to accord legal status to the sub-plan. If the rival parties had any regard for the weaker sections, they would have helped in passing the AP SC, ST sub-plan Bill 2012 in the Assembly unanimously, he said.

Stating that nearly Rs. 23,000 crore funds meant for SCs and STs were diverted over several years, Mr. Krishnaiah said that such diversion would not be possible any more following the legal status being given to the sub plans. These funds would now have to be especially spent for creating good infrastructure, irrigation, housing and other facilities in SC and ST localities.

Mr. Krishnaiah refuted reports that SC leaders were shifting loyalties from the Congress to the YSR Congress Party led by Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, saying that any such migration would not affect the interests of their party which has a long history.