IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, describing the Telangana Dalit Bandhu as a bold and radical scheme, said it would set an example for the rest of the country just as other trend-setting programmes launched by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao did.
“The Chief Minister always thinks big and will ensure the successful implementation of Dalit Bandhu, launched by him in Huzurabad on Monday, like he did in the case of Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, Mission Bhagiratha and several other initiatives. He will overcome all the challenges,” the Minister said during an interactive session with the first batch of students of Master of Public Policy (MPP) at Kautilya School of Public Policy, GITAM University, in Sangareddy on Tuesday.
The Minister said all the 17 lakh Dalit families in the State would be covered under the unique scheme in the next five years. The estimated expenditure on the scheme over the next five years would be an estimated Rs 1.7 lakh crore, and every Dalit family would be covered under the scheme, he said, adding that about 3 to 4 lakh Dalit families will benefit from the scheme every year.
Responding to a question raised by actress Poonam Kaur, who also attended the interactive session, on the financial feasibility of Dalit Bandhu, the Minister said people were also apprehensive about the financial feasibility of Rythu Bandhu, but it went on to become a trend-setter in the country.
Stating that it was disheartening to see Dalits remaining backward even 75 years after Independence, the Minister said Dalits still remain downtrodden because all the attempts made so far were futile.
The Minister said he had suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to focus on three IIIs – Innovation, Infrastructure and Inclusive Growth – during ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ interaction session with various sections of society. The State government came up with the Dalit Bandhu scheme when it realised reservations did not help bring change among the Dalits, he said.
Since 16 to 17 per cent of Telangana’s population comprised Dalits, the exclusion of such a sizable population from development does not do any good to the State either, he said. Stating that questions were being asked why the State government was not coming up with Minority Bandhu, Tribal Bandhu and BC Bandhu, he said the Chief Minister may come up with such schemes in future .