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Govt working to bring amendment to SC/ST Act: Selja

Govt is working to bring an amendment to SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for the benefit of backward communities, Kumari Selja said.

New Delhi: Government is working to bring an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for the benefit of backward communities, Union Minister Kumari Selja said on Monday.

Delivering the Dr Ambedkar Memorial Lecture on `Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality` here, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister also highlighted the need for improving implementation of SC/ST sub-plan to benefit these communities.

"SCs/STs continue to lag behind and gap between them and others is still very wide. Their performance with respect to human development is much less than other groups. SCs continue to be landless and asset-less by and large," Selja said.

"We need to focus on effective implementation of SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. We are also working for its amendment and currently consulting all stakeholders including state governments," she said.

In 2009-10, only about one-third of SC households owned some assets and about 58 per cent of rural and 25 per cent of SC urban households were wage labourers. Only 11 per cent of SC rural households owned private enterprises, as compared to 54.5 per cent of other communities, Selja added.

SCs lag behind in access to civic amenities and in 2012 the housing shortage among them was 55 per cent and 32 per cent in rural and urban areas respectively, she said.

The minister noted that affirmative action needs to be taken for improving the condition of backward communities. SCs continue to suffer from untouchability in many parts of the country, she said.

The SJ&E Ministry is setting up a world class Ambedkar National Memorial Centre in Delhi along with an international centre in memory of the Dalit icon, Selja added.