Chennai: Centre on Tuesday expressed concern over the low conviction rate of cases relating to discrimination against SC/ST community members in Tamil Nadu and asked the state government to ensure that various steps were in place to address the issue.
A suggestion had been given on including a compulsory paper in state government examinations regarding relevant legislations, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik told reporters here.
According to 2010 statistics, conviction rate especially in relation to Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1988, was a little over 24 per cent, he told reporters here.
"We have asked the state government to ensure there was no under-reporting of cases,timely investigation and chargesheeting, constant review of the performance of Special Public Prosecutors and prosecution," he said on the sidelines of a review meeting of implementation of the relevant Acts in the state.
While the relevant legislations allowed officers "wilfully," negligent in discharging their duties to be penalised, the state government has not found a single officer guilty under it for the past 22 years, he said.
"We have suggested that there be a compulsory paper in state government exams (held by Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission) to make the candidates well aware of the provisions in the legislations as they are the ones who will be implementing them (after being recruited)," he said.
Listing the different Central initiatives aimed at benefiting the SC/ST community, he said the government had recently approved a scheme to provide scholarship to students of Classes IX and X, and allocated an annual sum of Rs 950 crore for 42 lakh students.
Further, according to the Public Procurement Policy, 20 per cent of the goods and services would be procured from MSMEs of which 20 per cent would come from SC/ST members which was around Rs 8000 crore worth goods, Wasnik said.