Telangana government ready to spend ₹ 3,000 crore for Dalit Bandhu first phase: CM

Plans to allocate ₹20,000 cr in next year’s budget; State’s finances witnessing significant growth, says CM

The State government has announced its resolve to implement Dalit Bandhu, the flagship programme for empowerment of Dalits, spending around ₹ 2,500 crore to ₹ 3,000 crore by March next year.

After announcing the decision to implement the pilot project in Huzurabad Assembly constituency and four mandals in different constituencies in saturation mode, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has said 100 families each in the remaining Assembly constituencies would be extended the benefit of ₹ 10 lakh grant without bank linkages before the end of the current financial year.

The government, he announced, plans to allocate ₹ 20,000 crore in the next year’s budget for Dalit Bandhu enabling coverage of around 200 families each in all the 119 Assembly constituencies of the State. The Chief Minister said that there would not be any pressure on the beneficiaries regarding the activity they wanted to take up using Dalit Bandhu funds nor would there be any restrictions on the number of businesses they wanted to start under the scheme.

They could even form groups for starting their enterprise if the business they planned required higher investments. “They can start their business anywhere in the State. Their activities should however be uploaded on a constant basis to ensure their effective monitoring,” he said. There was no special criterion evolved for the scheme and being from a Dalit family was the only eligible criterion for availing of the benefits under the scheme.

The Chief Minister was replying to an elaborate debate on the Dalit Bandhu that came up under short discussion in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. Replying to queries from the members, he said the government wanted to get the experiences in the implementation of the scheme in select constituency, four mandals and 100 families in each of the remaining segments spending around ₹ 3,000 crore before the year-end. “Based on the experience, improvements can be made and the scheme can be scaled up thereafter,” he said.

Asserting that there no precedent to Dalit Bandhu like scheme anywhere, he said the government initially planned to implement the scheme selecting 100 beneficiaries each from all the 119 constituencies. But changes had been made in view of the significantly improved finances. “Telangana has registered 11.5 % economic growth in spite of the losses suffered on account of coronavirus,” he said.

The scheme would cover all the close to 18 lakh Dalit families, including those belonging to employees, totaling to expenditure of ₹ 1.8 lakh crore. Responding to doubts over the way finances would be mobilized for such massive scheme, he said economic dynamics of the State had been worked out and it was estimated that ₹ 23 lakh crore would be spent in the next seven years.

“Implementation of Dalit Bandhu would form some percentage of the estimated spending,” he averred adding that all schemes aimed for Dalits, including loans from SC Corporation and scholarships would continue as usual in spite of the new scheme.

He asserted that the scheme would be implemented without giving scope for politics and all the families, irrespective of their party affiliation would be covered under it. Responding to suggestions from the Opposition parties, he said the government was not averse to giving statutory backing to the scheme by enacting a legislation.

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