Wednesday, December 16, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Assembly approves SC/ST reservations

Assembly approves SC/ST reservations
TNN 16 December 2009, 06:23am IST

PANAJI: The Goa Assembly on Tuesday ratified a key constitutional
amendment approved by Parliament to extend reservation of seats for
SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for a further
period of 10 years.

The approval came amidst suggestions from both benches for a radical
change in approach at all levels to improve the communities'
socio-economic conditions.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who moved the resolution, conceded that
SCs/STs still face injustice and atrocities. "Will these things stop?
We need to introspect and act through our heart to stop it totally,"
he said.

Claiming that the situation was "better in Goa as compared to other
states", he said his government had initiated the process to ensure
that a separate tribal welfare department would start functioning by
April 1, 2010.

Countering BJP MLA Damodar "Damu" Naik's earlier comment that the
10-year extension was a matter of shame for the Congress, Kamat said
his party had the maximum number of MPs from the two communities in
both houses of Parliament. A decision on setting up a ST commission
was also taken.

Opposition leader, Manohar Parrikar, while backing the resolution,
said that what was contemplated by the co-framers of the Constitution
had not been achieved. "We lack conviction," he lamented. He said in
Goa, there are no political reservations.

Dayanand Narvekar pointed out that out of 543 seats in both houses of
Parliament, 41 for STs and 79 for SCs (total 120) would now be
automatically reserved, while of the 3,961 seats in state assemblies,
SCs are assured of 540 and STs of 527, ie over 25%. Coupled with 33%
reservations for women, which, he said, is likely to come soon, "we
are looking at a revolution".

He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the budgetary allocation
for the communities and expressed apprehensions that money meant for
them in some sectors like fisheries is not being utilized.

BJP MLAs Ramesh Tawadkar, Laxmikant Parsekar and Vasudev Meng Gaonkar,
MGP MLA Pandurang Dhavalikar and Congress MLAs Pandurang Madkaikar and
deputy speaker Mauvin Godinho also voiced their concern on the present
plight of the communities and hoped that the resolution would improve
their conditions.

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