Hyderabad: Following criticism by the opposition parties in Telangana that the Dalit Bandhu scheme was put on the backburner after the defeat of ruling TRS in the by-election to Huzurabad Assembly constituency, the state government has released Rs 250 crore for implementation of the scheme in four mandals or blocks.
The government has issued orders releasing Rs 100 crore for Chintakani mandal in Khammam district and Rs 50 crore each to Tirumalgiri mandal in Suryapet district, Charugonda mandal of Nagarkurnool district, Nizamabad mandal of Kamareddy district.
The mandals were selected in four Assembly constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes. Chintakani mandal in Madhira constituency represented by Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, received the highest allocation.
The money was released following criticism by the opposition parties that Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) cold shouldered the scheme following its defeat in Huzurabad by-election.
It was on October 18, that the government had issued orders for releasing Rs 250 crore for implementation of Dalit Bandhu in four mandals on pilot basis.
The four mandals in east, west, north and south of the state were selected for implementation of Dalit Bandhu on pilot basis in addition to Huzurabad Assembly constituency, where the scheme was launched on August 16.
Under the scheme, every beneficiary Dalit family will get Rs 10 lakh as grant and they will be free to choose their profession, self-employment or businesses for utilising the funds.
The government has already released Rs 2,000 crore for Huzurabad, where the scheme will be implemented in saturation mode.
The prestigious scheme was launched on pilot basis in Huzurabad in August ahead of the by-elections caused by the resignation of former minister Eatala Rajender. This had drawn flak from the opposition parties who alleged that the scheme was launched to lure voters.
During the election process, the Election Commission of India had stayed implementation of the scheme.
Rajender, who had quit the TRS and joined the BJP after he was dropped from Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, won the by-election, defeating TRS candidate by a margin of over 24,000 votes.
For the last few weeks, the BJP and the Congress have been targeting TRS for what they called giving up the scheme.
At a meeting of state ministers, MPs, state legislators and other leaders last week, Chief Minister KCR had dismissed the doubts over implementation of Dalit Bandhu and made it clear that it will be implemented across the state in a phased-manner.
Later, at a conference of District Collectors, KCR ruled out going back on Dalit Bandhu and said it will be extended to all the 119 Assembly constituencies in the state by March 2022.
KCR told the officials that the scheme will be extended to all other Assembly constituencies where at least 100 Dalit families will be covered during the current fiscal by March 31, 2022.
KCR said the scheme was launched for socio-economic development of the Dalit community who have been discriminated against for generations. He believes that Rs 10 lakh grant will not only financially support the Dalit families, but also become a social investment and help in further strengthening the state economy.
KCR had earlier told the state Assembly that the state has nearly 18 lakh Dalit families and it requires Rs 1.80 lakh crore to implement the scheme.
He said the government was now spending Rs 3,000 crore on the scheme. He also announced that Rs 20,000 crore will be allocated in the next year’s budget for Dalit Bandhu. With this money, 2,000 Dalit families will be covered in each Assembly constituency.