New Delhi: With the 2014 lok Sabha polls just a few months away, the Congress-led UPA government is eyeing another populist legislation – amendments to the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Reports on Wednesday said that the move will reinforce Congress’ Dalit and tribal vote bank.
Last March, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment had circulated a draft Cabinet note bringing in more offences and preventive measures under the Act, and promising speedy trial with enhanced punishment.
“Amendments would deliver members of SCs and STs a greater deal of justice and will also be an enhanced deterrent to the offenders,” said the draft.
As per the 2011 Census, Scheduled Castes (SCs) form 16.2 per cent of India’s population and Scheduled Tribes (STs) 8.2 per cent. But in rural areas, the main vote bank of the Congress, they constitute 68 per cent of the population.
Sources said the ministry’s intent was to introduce the amendment Bill in the post-recess Budget Session (that started on April 22) but it was thwarted by the Opposition’s continued boycott. Now it would be introduced in the Monsoon Session, sources claim.