Sir, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak. On behalf of my party YSRC Congress, I support this bill. This gives me an opportunity to ventilate some of the demands from my States to include in the List of Scheduled Castes and some other issues relating to SCs and STs.

The first point is that Dalit Christians are demanding for giving them SC status since long. The contention of the Government that since they have changed their religion from Hinduism to Christianity does not hold good. They are basically Dalits and there is nothing wrong if they take Baptism. Mere taking Baptism does not change either their social status or economic condition. I am given to understand that many Committees have been constituted and every Committee recommended for giving them SC status. Sir, even GoAP passed a Bill to this effect and sent the same to GOI for its approval. But, so far nothing has happened. So, I request the hon. Minister to consider their request and include them in the SC List.

The second point is, Sir, there are not only demands for including some communities in SC List, but there is one extreme case where AP Assembly passed Bill and consequent to that a Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha, discussed for four days to give ST status to fishermen of AP and then withdrawn. I take one minute to explain this.

AP Assembly passed a Bill granting fishermen in AP ST status on 20 th June, 1970. And, vide DO Letter No. 1924/TW-12/170/4, Revenue Department, dt. 21 st June, 1970, sent to GOI for inclusion of fishermen community in ST List. A Bill to this effect was introduced in Lok Sabha on 24 th September, 1970. The Bill was discussed for four days and later it was withdrawn without taking any decision. It shocked everybody, particularly fishermen in AP. So, would like to know the reasons and what the status of the Bill is now.

The third point is, people have been demanding for classification of SCs so that fruits of reservation are given to all the needy. Sir, the BJP has assured that categorization of SCs would be taken up within 100 days of their coming into power. It is not 100 days, it is nearing 1000 days. But, so far, no action has been taken by the Government. Sir, Usha Mehra Commission recommended categorization of SCs into ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D.’ It had also submitted its Report to the Government.

So, I would like to know the present status of the same. The fourth point is, budgetary allocation to SC Sub-Plan and the Tribal Sub-Plan are coming down. In 2014-15, the allocation to SC Sub-Plan was Rs. 50,000 crores and for Tribal Sub-Plan was Rs. 32,000 crores. But, in 2016-17, it came down to Rs. 38,000 crores and Rs. 24,000 crores respectively. I would like to know the reasons behind this and what is the allocation made for 2017-18. Due to this, all programmes and schemes that have impacted due to reduced allocation.

The final point is, what are the reasons that gross enrolment ratio in higher education of SC and ST in AP is just 10.2% and 4.4% respectively when compared to the national average of 21%? And, what remedial measures Ministry is taking to improve this ratio in AP. With these observations and anticipating a positive reply on issues raised by me from the hon. Minister, I support this Bill.

Thank you.

Speech on Constitution (SC) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017