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Govt considering village development scheme expansion

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the government was considering expansion of a pilot scheme that focuses on integrated development of villages with large Scheduled Caste presence.

"The central government has launched a pilot centrally-sponsored scheme Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana in five States, Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. This is for integrated development of 1000 villages with Scheduled Caste majority populations.

"Provided the pilot warrants, and encouraging results are achieved, an expansion of this scheme is being considered in the 12th Five-Year Plan," Singh said, addressing a conference of state ministers of welfare and social justice here.

The Prime Minister noted that ensuring equitable development of all sections of society and especially the weaker sections is central to the government`s agenda of inclusive growth.

He also said the government proposes to revise the income ceiling and scholarship rates under the post-matric scholarship scheme for OBC students.

Singh also said that the government intends to bring a new law for the disabled population.

"The expert group of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is drafting a new law in place of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. After consulting state governments and other stake holders, we propose to introduce the bill in Parliament," Singh said.

Noting that various initiatives are being taken to address concerns of persons with disabilities, the Prime Minister said, "but I do recognise that we have to do much more in this regard."

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