Commission chief flays Jharkhand over SC welfare schemes

Ranchi, Feb 3 (IANS) National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairperson P.L. Punia on Wednesday flayed the Jharkhand government over the non-implementation of welfare schemes for the weaker sections in the state.

“The conviction rate of just 2.08 percent compared with the national average of 23.81 percent in cases involving the scheduled castes in Jharkhand is the lowest in the country,” Punia said at a press conference here.

He said that out of all such registered cases, police filed charge sheets in the courts in only 50 percent cases.

No meeting of the state vigilance monitoring committee, headed by the chief minister, to look into issues related to the scheduled castes has taken place since 2007 though there is a provision for such meetings twice a year, Punia said while pointing out that the state did not have a SC commission.

“As per an amendment made in 2015 and notified in 2016 in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, there should be special courts and dedicated public prosecutors to handle cases related to the scheduled castes. There is also a time frame for filing of charge sheets and disposal of cases, but no such guidelines are followed in Jharkhand,” the SC commission chief said.

He also expressed unhappiness over the state government’s failure to provide data related to SC welfare schemes in Jharkhand.

“Once, we postponed a meeting of the commission as data was not provided. Even in today’s (Wednesday) meeting, data related to scheduled castes like manual scavenging, bonded labourers and forged SC certificates were not provided. Data related to expenditure on SC welfare schemes was also not given,” Punia said.

Scheduled castes account for 12 percent of the Jharkhand population.

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