Special Correspondent

“Decision a major milestone in struggle for social justice”

Bill will be introduced to give effect to the order

Government setting up a welfare board for denotified communities

CHENNAI: The State Minorities Commission will soon become a statutory body, Backward Classes Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran announced in the Assembly on Tuesday.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had asked him to make this announcement, he said. A Bill would be introduced to give effect to this order. He was replying to the debate on the demands for grants for his department.

The Commission was set up in 1989. It gives suggestions to the State government on legal measures to be adopted for safeguarding the welfare and rights of linguistic and religious minorities in the State, and advises on schemes to be implemented for their welfare.

Congress Whip S. Peter Alphonse, who was allowed to intervene, said he had met the Chief Minister in the morning and told him that the Commission was not a statutory body only in Manipur and Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister sought details from his secretaries and they informed him that the issue could be studied and a decision taken. But, the Chief Minister was not satisfied with this, Mr. Alphonse said, and directed the Backward Classes Minister to make the announcement. The Chief Minister’s decision was a major milestone in the struggle for social justice.

Mr. Ramachandran said that taking into consideration the social and educational backwardness of the denotified communities, the government was setting up a welfare board for them. The board would suggest ways to improve their lot.

Replying to C. Durairaj (AIADMK), who alleged that the quality of bicycles purchased for distribution now was poor, Mr. Ramachandran said the same tender conditions were in force. Since the member had made an allegation on quality, he would look into this aspect.

Mr. Ramachandran pointed out that in the previous years, bicycles were distributed only to Class 11 students towards the end of the academic year. More often than not, the bicycles were used by other family members or relatives and not the student. The situation has changed now since the department had made arrangements to distribute bicycles at the beginning of the academic year.