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Govt will look into demand for inclusion of Meetei in ST list: Biren

He was replying to a query raised by K. Meghachandra, MLA during Question Hour Wednesday, Chief Minister said, it is a little tricky issue as there has been difference in opinion amongst the people in this regard.

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Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has assured the House on Wednesday that his government will look into the demand for the inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list.

He was replying to a query raised by K. Meghachandra, MLA during Question Hour Wednesday, Chief Minister said, it is a little tricky issue as there has been a difference in opinion amongst the people in this regard.

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Biren Singh further said that maintaining peaceful co-existence among the different communities in the state is equally important with the protection of every community. He said, although there has been a need to protect the Meetei/Meitei community, there is also the need to take some more time to look into various aspects of its inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list. There have been informal communications with the Central leaders in this regard, the Chief Minister added.

The Chief Minister (in-charge Horticulture) while replying to another question raised by Surjakumar Okram, MLA said, there is plan to make the State self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables as a part of the Mission “Vocal for Local”. He said, under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), the coverage area for vegetables has increased to 2970 hectares in 2020-2021 from 1412 hectres in 2019-20. A specific scheme on value chain marketing of quality local products through brand building initiatives has been proposed under State Plan.

Biren added that a task force to ensure self-sufficiency of potato, pea, onion, garlic and mustard has been constituted and activities have been taken up.

Chief Minister Biren Singh while replying to a question and supplementary raised by AK Mirabai Devi, MLA said that a total of 659 Health Workers including 86 Medical Officers, 309 Staff Nurse and 264 Multi-Tasking Staff were recruited on contractual basis to assist regular staffs deputed to COVID Care Centres, Quarantine Centres and Testing Centres. 

The Chief Minister said initially they were engaged for only three months but as per requirement their period of engagement was extended to another three months. He said as of now the situation has been improved considerably with the decrease in the rate of infection. With the improvement of recovery rate, facility for home isolation has also been introduced and various COVID Care Centres have also been closed. Country-wide COVID vaccination drive has also been taken up. In view of the situation and due to fund constrain, the state government cannot afford further engagement of the health workers, he added.

Labour & Employment Minister Th Satyabrata informed the House that a total of 15,945 migrant workers have returned from other states during the lockdown period. He was replying to a question raised by Surjakumar Okram, MLA. The Minister said, 14 categories have been identified to treat the returnees as migrant workers. Although no specific scheme or programme meant for them has been introduced, the government will assist them through programmes like Start-Up and Stand Up.

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