Mumbai, May 5 : Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said the government will not dilute the SC/ST Act and that is why it has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court, adding that if required, it may bring an ordinance to uphold the rights of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) communities.
“The government will not dilute the the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In a high-power committee, it was decided to keep SC/ST Act intact,” the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said at a press conference here.
The Minister also announced the government decision to provide 15 kgs of grain per month per student at below poverty line (BPL) rates to hostels for SCs, STs, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and minority communities.
This will be, however, also applicable to the General category hostels where two to three students are from SC, ST, OBC and minority communities.
Paswan applauded Maharashtra government for doing good work and said: “…as far as Aadhaar is concerned, following 88 per cent seeding, 50 lakh bogus ration cards have been eliminated and now only genuine beneficiaries are getting the ration.”
He said the Centre was taking several steps to help out the sugar industry which was facing depressed market sentiments and crash in sugar prices. “The liquidity condition of the sugar mills has been adversely affected, leading to accumulation of cane price dues of farmers to the tune of Rs. 19,000 crore.”
“The Union Cabinet has approved financial assistance of Rs. 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed in sugar season 2017-18 to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane, in order to help sugar mills to clear dues of farmers,” the Minister said.
“Further, to facilitate and incentivise export of surplus sugar by mills, the government has allowed Duty Free Import Authorization (DFIA) Scheme in respect of sugar. Besides, in a bid to give boost to Ethanol, there is a proposal to reduce the GST slab. The GST Council in its meeting held in New Delhi on Friday recommended to reduce the GST rate from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.”