Andhra House Pays Tributes to Gujral
Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly today paid tributes to former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral who passed away in Gurgaon yesterday.

Speaker Nadendla Manohar moved the condolence motion immediately after the House sat for the day's proceedings this morning.

Manohar recalled Gujral's services to the nation in a long political career.

"He was a freedom fighter who took active part in the Quit India Movement. He was an able leader who served the country as Union Minister first and Prime Minister next.

Gujral was a great poet in Urdu," the Speaker said in the condolence motion.

Later, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen floor leader Akbaruddin asked the government to table the report of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on SC and ST sub-plans in the House.

Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, who headed the sub-committee, said the report was prepared after elaborate deliberations with stakeholders across the state.

"There was no secrecy in preparing the report. Everything was done transparently. People from the SC and the ST communities poured out their woes at the workshops we conducted in different parts of the state. A legal framework is needed for judicious utilisation of funds earmarked for the SCs and the STs under the sub-plans. Only then will justice be done to these sections of the society," the Deputy Chief Minister noted.

The House then took up discussion on the proposed legislation. Telugu Desam Legislature Party deputy leader Motkupalli Narasimhulu said funds to the tune of Rs 21,000 crore earmarked for SC and ST sub-plans were diverted for other purposes in the last eight years of the Congress rule.

The proposed legislation would not benefit anyone as it had many flaws in it.

"Classification of Scheduled Castes into different groups is the key to effective implementation of the legislation. Besides, proportionate allotment of funds is essential based on the population of different castes within the SCs. The Congress has failed to exert pressure on the Centre for a constitutional amendment on the classification issue," Narasimhulu said.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader T Harish Rao, too, said the proposed legislation was full of flaws.

"The government should redraw the Rs 25,000 crore diverted from the SC-ST sub-plans and spend them for the intended purpose. Also, the legislation should contain a provision that bars diversion of the sub-plan funds. The sub-plans funds should not be allowed to lapse, even if unspent in a particular year," Harish said.

Both the TDP and the TRS wanted removal of ten-year time-frame from the legislation. The discussion will continue on Sunday as well before the Bill is passed.

Meanwhile, YSR Congress Party honorary president Y S Vijayamma demanded that the Congress leadership implement the SC and ST sub-plan bill across the country by introducing it in the Parliament, and providing constitutional protection.

She welcomed the government's initiative to provide statutory protection to the SC, ST sub-plan, but wondered whether the government was sincere in the implementation of the bill, as the move came ahead of the election year.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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