Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has asserted that Dalit Bandhu, the one of its kind scheme for financial empowerment of Dalits, will be extended to the needy in other sections in a phased manner.
The scheme has been launched for Dalits initially as they were the most backward section financially as they suffered discrimination for long. The scheme would be gradually extended to scheduled tribes, financially poor in backward classes and economically backward in the upper castes as well in due course.
“The income generated in the State should reach the deserving sections and priority has been given to the most oppressed first,” he said asserting that the government is committed to reaching out to all the sections of people that were suffering. The Chief Minister was speaking at a meeting organized in connection with former Minister Motkupalli Narsimhulu joining the Telangana Rashtra Samiti here on Monday.
Mr. Rao reiterated that the scheme was solely aimed at the empowerment of financially weaker sections and there were no politics involved in it. Some of the party leaders insisted that the beneficiaries host a photograph of the Chief Minister in the projects/works launched as part of the scheme.
“But we rejected it as it has no politics involved and I am against looking at political gains out of such scheme aimed at financial empowerment of Dalits. Being Dalit is the only qualification for availing of the benefits under Dalit Bandhu irrespective of the political affiliation of the beneficiary,” he said. The scheme was also not confined to one constituency and 100 members would be selected from each assembly constituency across the State for implementation of the scheme initially.
The Chief Minister asserted that the scheme would continue “come what may” as the government was committed to implementing it. The scheme would entail an expenditure of ₹1.7 lakh crore over the next seven years, but the government had the courage to launch such an innovative scheme that would become a role model for the country soon.
“According to estimates, the State will spend ₹23 lakh crore in the next seven years. ₹1.7 lakh crore is a small portion of it. The government will continuously monitor the progress achieved by the beneficiaries and systems have been put in place for that,” he said. Once operational, the scheme was likely to generate ₹10 lakh crore as the investment made through Dalit Bandhu would have spin off effects in generating more employment as well as returns.
Mr. Rao said committees from village level to State level, comprising a “Dalit brigade”, would be set up to monitor the implementation of the scheme. The scheme had been conceived with specific targets and a positive view towards empowering the oppressed sections and Dalits were accorded priority as they were the most backward section in Telangana. “With a population of more than 75 lakh, Dalits have landholding of less than 13 lakh acres. Their population is more but they are given fewer opportunities,” he lamented.
He exhorted the party leaders and cadre to ensure the implementation of the scheme like a movement on the lines of the one carried out for the achievement of a separate Telangana State. At the same time, steps should be taken to educate the beneficiaries not to replicate one another as this could have a bearing on the outcome of their activities.
“There is a need to ensure that beneficiaries do not take up similar activities as this can impact their earnings. Educate them about appropriate activities that fetch them maximum returns so that they are in a position to give gainful employment to others,” he said.