Chennai: Chief Secretary V Iraianbu warned against any bid to prevent elected local body chiefs, belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, from hoisting the national flag on Independence Day at their respective offices and suggested seeking police help in the event of any problem arising due to caste discrimination or in an attempt to practice ‘untouchability.’
Since ‘untouchability’ in any form had been banned by the Constitution, preventing or intimidating any people’s representative from discharging their official duties was a crime punishable under the law, Iraianbu said in his letter to the district collectors who have been instructed to submit reports, one by the evening of August 14 and the other by August 17 on the action taken to ensure that flag hoisting was done by the right persons.
The letter was sent to the district collectors on Friday in view of reports that there could be attempts in certain district panchayats to humiliate SC and ST persons, entitled to hoist the national flag on Independence Day, and also prevent them from discharging their duty.
Since it was the tradition for elected leaders to hoist the national flag on Independence Day, starting from the State Secretariat to the panchayat offices, preventing it due to caste discrimination was a crime, he said.
Urging the district collectors to ensure that the flag hoisting was carried out in all offices starting from the village panchyats to the Corporations by the elected leaders of the particular local body, the Chief Secretary also asked them to facilitate the participation of people from all sections of society without any caste discrimination in the grama sabha meetings and independence day celebrations on Monday.
The government announced that grama sabha meetings would be held in all villages at 11 am on August 15 at the venues announced in the respective panchayat offices and among the agenda for the meetings would be the ratification of statement of accounts and discussion on the various welfare schemes with reference to creating awareness about them and also identifying beneficiaries.
The discussions at the grama sabhas would be on the accounts for the first four months of the financial year 2022-23, works undertaken, their progress, identification of beneficiaries for the State and Union Government welfare schemes, all-village Anna Revival Scheme, Nammaku Naame (We for Ourselves) scheme, Swachh Bharat Scheme, MGNREGA, solid and liquid waste management, agriculture and farmers welfare schemes, children and elderly assistance numbers and skill development for youth.
Every voter in the village, above the age of 18, was eligible to take part in the grama sabha proceedings, an official press release said, stressing on the need to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
Meanwhile, a separate press release from the agriculture department urged the people to attend the grama sabha meetings to know about the government’s welfare schemes for farmers and agriculture.
It said that names of beneficiaries of the various welfare schemes had been prepared and would be displayed and farmers taking part in the meetings would be informed about the different schemes through placards at the venue and handbills.
Farmers would also be instructed to download the ‘Ulavan’ (farmer) app and use it and also the importance of linking their Aadhar number with the Prime Minister’s Kisan Samman Fund Scheme....