About women, of course, there is a proposal that up to the college level, they will have free education. So far, so good, and it goes without saying that in every State, all of them may not belong to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes. Therefore, this should be thought about.

The other thing that I would like to say is about the atrocities. You will find that most of the atrocities have been committed by the landlords. That is why, I said, Sir, that if you really want to fight the atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes as well as the other weaker sections like women, then you have to fight for land reforms.

I would like to say that a very serious re-examination is required to see how the projects are being implemented. I had also seen that many of the social projects meant for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes remain unimplemented.

Therefore, that aspect also should be gone into and through a serious re-examination and good monitoring of the subject, we can really raise the standards of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and restore the dignity which they have the right to have. It is not a question of charity. It is a question of raising the standard of their lives and restoring their pride.

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SHRI PATY RIPPLE KYNDIAH (SHILLONG): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I rise to support the Constitution (Eighty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1999. At the outset, I would like to refer to the Objects and Reasons of this Bill. It is very clear that the main reason which has been put forward for tabling this Bill is, "the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats and nomination of members have not ceased to exist."

Mr. Chairman, I would have wished that the Government had brought a Bill which was based on the reality of the ground situation. Ten years is just an instalment of the period for which reservation is required. I do not know if the Government has examined as to how far we have been able to succeed in bringing the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes to the desired level. If they had conducted such an exercise, I am sure in my mind that the period indicated in the Bill would not have been ten years but it would have been either 20 years or 25 years or 30 years -- it all depends on how we appraise the situation -- which would have been more realistic.

Before I say anything, I would like to make a mention that we must thank the founding fathers of the Constitution for having assessed the situation at that point of time and the need to accord recognition to the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. It reminds me what Prime Minister Nehru, on the eve of Independence, in his Tryst with Destiny speech in this very hall said. He said, "The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity." Some time we tend to forget this very important point that had been made by the first Prime Minister of this country Jawahar Lal Nehru. We are debating this measure today because we would like to see that these opportunities are given to the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes throughout the country in a way that helps them rise up to the level that we all desire them to. We know about the difficulties of implementing these grand desires. We know about the limitations which the administration has to work under. At the same time there is no doubt why we should not get the correct figures as to how far we have achieved success in trying to bring the deprived communities to the level that we had desired.

This is a very important point and I feel that we should make note of it here.

The second point which I would like to make here is that there have been limitations in working out the programme of amelioration of the suflerings of the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheduled Castes due to certain judicial judgments. I have a great respect for the judiciary but at the same time I realise that this House is a soverign and Supreme body. I agree with the suggestion of one of my colleagues that the time has come that we should have a full debate on the question of reservation in such a manner that it will help the deprived people of this country.

I want to make a mention of the conditions of the Scheduled Tribes particularly in the North-East since I come from that area. The Scheduled Tribes' share of population in the North-East is 26 per cent. We have 209 tribes. We experience the difficulties that the tribals are facing there in social and economic spheres. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, and then later Shri Rajiv Gandhi realised the problems of the North-East. It was not just a mere deprivation of the tribals there. It was more than that. It is with that aim in view, it was thought that if these tribes or these areas where they are predominantly inhabited are given a political status, that will help them in coming up to the desired level. It was with that aim in view that Nagaland was constituted in 1963. It was with that aim in view that Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur were constituted in 1972. Similarly, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were constituted in 1987. But political status does not mean economic emancipation.

We are today debating on the question of equality and importantly it must be economic equality. Until such time that we bring up the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheduled Castes to that economic status, we will be finding it difficult to say that `no more reservation'. The reservation is the need of the hour. I think, it is the everyone's wish that we want it.

After the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheduled Castes gain the requisite status, then there may not be any need of reservation. That may be a wish. But till such time, I am sure, it is in everyone's mind that we would like to have the reservation continuing.

I would also like to state here that we have a different kind of problem in the North-East. This concerns demography In 1977, Tripura which is one of the States of the North-East, had the population of about six lakh people. Ninty-three per cent of them were the tribals. But by 1991, in 24 years the population had reached the size of 23 lakhs.

1545 hours (Mr. Deputy-Speaker in the Chair)

But tribals were reduced to a minority, constituting 28 per cent of the population. This is another problem where the tribals became strangers in their own land. Therefore, land is very important. It is not just having health or anysuch facilities. That is why, I concur with what our colleague Shrimati Geeta Mukherjee was saying. It is very important. I feel that we have to apply our mind fully to another question of monitoring the progress, of bringing the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes to the level of equality. How far have we been able to do it? We would like to know from the Government about the progress made. So far as employment opportunities are concerned, there is a national policy on this. But we know for a fact that many of these jobs, whether it is railways or civil aviation or any other public undertakings, are not got by the tribals or the Scheduled Castes. Somewhere along the line, the Administration could not stop other people from other castes and other tribes, but not from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. They were able to gain access to having certificates attesting to the fact that they were Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes as a result of which genuine Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are not getting the jobs. This is again another problem. I know it for a fact. So, unless implementing agencies are keen, are honest in their work, we will find that whatever we wish to do is not happening. The main purpose of my speech here is, I would like not just a mere statement of allowing reservation, I would like to see how reservation works at the ground level. This is what I would like to impress upon the hon. Minister particularly and upon the Government and, I am sure on this matter you all agree. It is not a party affair. This is a national issue. On this issue, we must stand as one. This is my appeal to all of you, to my colleagues because some hon. Members on either side are talking about BJP or the Congress. I do not think it is right to talk about parties. This is an issue which cuts across party lines. This is a national issue.

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