AP govt to distribute forest lands to tribals

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Hyderabad, Feb 28 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare Minister Redya Naik today said the government would distribute ten lakh acres of forest land to tribals, who have been cultivating land for several years in agency areas.

Making a statement on budget allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under rule 311 in the Council, Mr Naik said the government has chalked out the modalities to distribute the forest lands to the tribals. Around 10 lakh acres would be distributed to the beneficiaries and title deeds be given to them by the end of next year.

Stating that education has been given the highest priority in ST welfare programmes, he said 599 ashram schools, 442 hostels and 260 residential schools were established to cater to them.

Efforts were on to study, document and preserve and disseminate knowledge of tribal culture and heritage, the minister said the Scheduled Tribes department was also taking up evaluation of implementation of various schemes through reputed independent agencies from time-to-time.

Social Welfare Minister P Subhash Chandra Bose said the total budget allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes was Rs 2251.13 crore in 2008-09 budget. The funds, which were not utilised in previous budgets, would be reappropriated and spent in the current year.

Meanwhile, Independent MLC J Prabhakara Rao demanded that the government release a white paper on the allocations and the money spent for the welfare of SC during the last 20 years.

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