Hyderabad: The Telangana government’s ambitious Chief Minister’s Dalit Empowerment Scheme, now christened ‘Telangana Dalit Bandhu,’ will be launched by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in Huzurabad Assembly constituency of erstwhile Karimnagar district on a pilot basis. The date of the scheme’s launch will be announced soon.
Chandrashekhar Rao, as is well known, kick-starts most of the programmes from erstwhile Karimnagar district including Rythu Bandhu in Huzurabad and Rythu Bima in Karimnagar. He had also held the ‘Telangana Simhagarjana’ that marked the launch of the Statehood movement from the erstwhile Karimnagar district. Since the Dalit Empowerment Scheme is also close to his heart, the Chief Minister decided that it would be befitting to launch the Telangana Dalit Bandhu from Huzurabad.
“The purpose of Dalit Bandhu scheme is to improve their socio-economic status,” Chandrashekhar Rao said at a review meeting held at Pragathi Bhavan on Sunday, adding that the trust deficit among Dalits over their empowerment due to the policies adopted by the past governments must be erased. “This mistrust should end and confidence should be instilled among them that the State government was working for their cause with commitment,” he added.
“Discrimination in the name of caste, gender and other factors and keeping talented people away from the manufacturing sector is detrimental not only to the individual, family and society but also to the nation,” he said. Working for Dalit empowerment was nothing but helping a talented section to overcome discrimination and become partners in societal development, he added.
The Chief Minister, who held an all-party meeting with Dalit legislators, had taken the unanimous decision to provide financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh per unit (family as a unit) without any bank guarantee under the Chief Minister’s Dalit Empowerment scheme. The entire amount will be directly deposited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, enabling the latter to design the scheme as per their needs and develop the venture to achieve economic empowerment and self-sufficiency. The Chief Minister had also announced that the budgetary allocations will be enhanced as required to benefit the majority of Dalit families.
The government subsequently decided to select 100 families each from 118 of the 119 Assembly constituencies for implementation of the scheme in the first phase. It was, however, decided to implement the scheme on a ‘saturation’ basis covering all the eligible Dalit families in the Huzurabad constituency on a pilot basis. As per estimates, there are about 20,929 Dalit families with a population of around 70,000 in the Huzurabad Assembly segment — 5,323 families in Huzarabad mandal, 4,346 in Kamalapur mandal, 3,678 in Veenakavanka mandal, 4,996 in Jammikunta mandal and 2,586 in Illanthakunta mandal.
The State government decided to spend about Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore to cover all the eligible Dalit families in the Huzurabad constituency alone. This will be in addition to the Rs 1,200 crore already allocated for the implementation of the scheme in the remaining 118 constituencies across the State. Covering a total of 95 villages and towns in the constituency, the government has decided to deploy 100 senior officers including district Collectors to oversee the successful implementation of the scheme by reaching out to every Dalit household in the constituency.
They will also analyse the results besides creating a ‘Security Fund’ with the participation of both beneficiaries and the State government. A workshop will be held for these officers before launching the scheme. After reviewing the implementation and examining the pros and cons, the government will extend the scheme to other parts of the State.
In addition to the Rs 10 lakh to be provided under the Telangana Dalit Bandhu scheme, the ‘Security Fund’ will provide necessary assistance to the beneficiaries in the event of any emergency. “The Security Fund will function as a shield for the Dalit families who benefited from the Dalit Bandhu scheme, in case their situation deteriorates under some circumstance,” the Chief Minister said.
Emphasising the need for committed government staff for effective implementation of the scheme and empowerment of the Dalit families, the Chief Minister instructed the officers to identify employees who will work sincerely and affectionately towards Dalit empowerment at the field level.