Guwahati: The Assam government on Wednesday said that the jobs of all government employees working under the Assam Tribal Development Authority (ATDA), which is being sought to be closed down, are secure and they will enjoy all financial and other protections.

Replying to a discussion during consideration of The Assam Tribal Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2021′ in the state Assembly, Minister for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes (WPT&BC) Ranoj Pegu said, We will ensure full financial and other protection of the employees working in the ATDA.

The employees are being shifted to openings in other offices and they will face no problems, he added.

Pegu also dismissed apprehension voiced by Opposition MLAs regarding denial of benefits of tribal people living outside autonomous areas.

He said, We have various agencies for implementing welfare schemes meant for the tribes at different levels. No deserving person will be deprived or face any harassment.

During the discussion, Opposition MLAs Bharat Chandra Narah (Congress), Durga Das Boro (Bodoland People’s Front) and Akhil Gogoi (Independent) had raised concern over the fate of the employees of ATDA once it is closed down following the passing of the repeal bill.

The Bill was later passed by a voice vote. The repeal of the principal act (ATDA Act of 1983) was done as the area under the scope of development in the plain tribal areas by the ATDA has substantially reduced due to the establishment of various autonomous councils, Bodoland Territorial Council, development councils, etc.

The directorate of WPT&BC in conjunction with the sub-divisional development boards for ST is also implementing schemes similar in the area of jurisdiction of the ATDA, further decreasing the need for a parallel agency to be run for the same purpose, thus leading to the repeal act.

The Assembly also passed two amendment bills, moved by Pegu, to increase the number of seats in the autonomous councils for Deori and Sonowal Kachari communities.

With the passage of The Deori Autonomous Council (Amendment) Bill, 2021′, the number of constituencies for elected members to the Deori Autonomous Council will rise from the existing 18 to 22 and government nominated members will increase from two to four.

The Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council (Amendment) Bill, 2021,’ will lead to an increase in the constituencies of elected members from the existing 26 to 32 members.

The amendments were proposed in both cases to give due representation to the people of villages predominantly inhabited by Deori/ Sonowal Kachari and other Schedule Tribes and to meet people’s aspirations for development.

The WPT&BC minister also moved The Assam Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Posts in Services) (Amendment) Bill, 2021′, which was also passed by a voice vote.

It will allow each establishment to prepare and notify the Roster for each cadre equivalent to the number of posts with the approval of the senior-most secretary of the department concerned.

The Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva Viswavidyalaya (Amendment) Bill, 2021′, moved by Pegu in his capacity as the Education Minister, was also passed in the House, which authorises the varsity to set up constituent units in select parts of the state.

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