Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Tuesday that the state government will launch a Dalita Bandhu-like scheme for the poor families of Muslims, backward classes and other communities in the state. He gave the assurance on the floor of the Assembly when Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi demanded that the government should implement a Dalita Bandhu-like scheme for Muslims.
Replying to a debate on Dalita Bandhu, under which every Dalit family is given a grant of Rs 10 lakh to start any economic activity, the Chief Minister said that his government is committed to uplift the poor of all sections of the society. "The Dalita Bandhu scheme will definitely be launched for Muslims, and not just Muslims, but for the poor in all the communities, but it will take time. Telangana is a new state. We have made a beginning with Dalita Bandhu," he said.
KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, assured Owaisi that his government will take all steps to remove backwardness of Muslims. The Chief Minister reiterated that all Dalit families in the state will be covered under Dalita Bandhu in a phased manner. He said the state has nearly 18 lakh Dalit families and it requires Rs 1.80 lakh crore to implement the scheme for all the Dalit families. He said the scheme will be implemented in saturation mode in the Huzurabad constituency, where it was launched on pilot basis. It will also be implemented in saturation in four mandals identified in different parts of the state.
KCR said the government is now spending Rs 3,000 crore on the scheme. Before March next year, 100 Dalit families in every Assembly constituency will be covered by the scheme. He also announced that Rs 20,000 crore will be allocated in next year's budget for Dalita Bandhu. With this amount, 2,000 Dalit families will be covered in each Assembly constituency. The government will not only provide the grant to the beneficiaries, but will also create a special fund to financially help them in case of any emergency.
He dismissed the allegation of the opposition parties that the Dalita Bandhu scheme was launched with an eye on the bye-election in Huzurabad. "It's a minor election for us. Will there be no TRS government after the Huzurabad election," he asked. KCR also exuded confidence that TRS will again form the government in Telangana in 2023 as it enjoys people's support.
"There is no doubt that we will come to power again," he said amid thumping of desks by the ruling party legislators. The Chief Minister said that he came out with the 'revolutionary' scheme for Dalits as all studies show that they are the most backward in the society and suffered discrimination for centuries. He said that there has been no change in the lives of the Dalits even after 75 years of Independence.
He also urged the Union government to replicate Dalita Bandhu for economic and social empowerment of Dalits across the country. He reiterated that Dalit government employees will also be covered under Dalita Bandhu and assured the members that the scheme will be implemented irrespective of the political affiliation of the beneficiaries. The Chief Minister said the beneficiaries are free to choose any business they want to do, adding that two or more beneficiaries can come together to set up a large unit.
On the criticism by the opposition parties for allegedly going back on the promise to provide 3 acres of land to every Dalit family, KCR clarified that he did not make the promise. He pointed out that in the past, the governments assigned lands to Dalits but it was not uniform. "Some families were given one acre of land each, while others got two acres. We had promised that we will ensure that all these Dalit families own 3 acres of land each," he said.
The Chief Minister said that since there is no government land available now and the government itself is forced to acquire lands for public purposes, there is no question of land distribution.