SC/ST panel puts forth suggestions
The first meeting of the Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with the State Planning Board has suggested the implementation of Forest Rights Act for tribal people and construction of residential buildings and proper sanitation in tribal colonies.
The other suggestions include strict implementation of the principle of reservation in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), formation of a contingent fund to meet natural calamities and epidemics and increase in annual income.
The meeting was attended by Commission chairman Justice P N Vijaykumar, members Ezhukone Narayanan and K K Manoj, the vice-chairman and members of the Planning Board.
The commission observed that SC/ST people are not provided with legal advice and correct legal protection at every stage of litigation and therefore their ignorance is exploited. The allocation of Rs 3 crore is insufficient and should be extended to statutes such as Right to Education Act, Forest Dwellers Act and a systematic methodology needs to be devised for timely financial assistance for litigants.
Though funds are allotted for development activities in SC/ST colonies, there is no permanent solution for their misery. Isolation of SC/ST population from general public is preventing them from progressive interaction with people of general culture and community.
New buildings and flats should be constructed considering the number of families in each colonies. High degree of hygiene and nutritious food should be made available to the children during all seasons, it was suggested. The principle of reservation should be strictly observed by government offices, PSUs and other institutions where government funds are utilised. All registered and unregistered establishments coming under the Minimum Wages Act should be insisted to observe principles of reservation.
A contingent fund is to be established and placed under the disposal of the district authorities of SC/ST to meet urgent and compelling situations such as epidemics and natural calamities. This will help to overcome emergencies. Educated unemployment, a new and alarming phenomena, is emerging among the SC/ST. A monthly allowance may be provided to educated people to enable them to sustain life.
In many schemes, the beneficiary groups are families whose income does not exceed Rs 25,000, which often denies them opportunity.