Dalit Bandhu: Unequivocal empowerment
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has come up with yet another innovative and revolutionary empowerment policy called the Dalit Bandhu Scheme, which is bound to change the life and financial status of Dalits in Telangana State forever
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has come up with yet another innovative and revolutionary empowerment policy called the Dalit Bandhu Scheme, which is bound to change the life and financial status of Dalits in Telangana State forever. In the long run it will become a model policy for other states to emulate and who will be left with no alternative except to adopt the same. In other words, the Dalit Bandhu Scheme, which will be introduced on a pilot basis from Huzurabad Assembly Constituency in Telangana, will herald a sea change in the lives of Dalits and will become torchbearer for Dalits elsewhere in the country.
An old adage says 'Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime'. This is what exactly CM KCR is doing. He is giving the DBT cash required for the Dalit families to start a business on their own so that they can become traders, businessmen, service sector operators and make them self-reliant economically and live with dignity and self-respect which will finally free from all sorts of discrimination they are facing till date.
Telangana Dalit Bandhu scheme would help Dalits to define their own development and become partners in the development. The Telangana Dalit Bandhu Scheme has three factors. The first one is monitoring the implementation of the scheme, second is to evaluate the results, the third one is to create a security fund for the beneficiaries with the government's participation and the beneficiaries.
Dalit Bandhu is not just a mere government's welfare program but also a massive people's movement aimed at empowering each Dalit family financially. It can be compared to the Telangana statehood agitation started and led by KCR with an aim to have a separate Telangana State and the aim was achieved.
Dr Ambedkar had shown the path for the Dalit empowerment and their rightful status in the society. CM KCR who studied the subject as part of the Centre for Subaltern Studies understood the problem and found solutions too. He realized that if Dalits are economically empowered, they would be away from any discrimination. He is upset that the Dalits who have the talent and skills are kept away from the productivity sector by keeping them away from the villages in the name of Untouchability. He is also upset that woman are confined to non-productive sector due to gender bias.
Hence CM KCR has carefully and innovatively defined, designed and developed the scheme so that it helps Dalits to immediately come out of their weak economic situation and directly get into earn money legally and in a royal way. In the sectors where there is an ample opportunity to get financially developed such as fertilizer shops, medical shops, rice mills, wine shops etc. the government will provide reservations for Dalits. With Rs 10 lakh per family assistance, the Dalits can establish themselves without any support from the Banks, and other such institutions.
Under the scheme Dalits can set up their choice of business such as power tiller, harvester, Paddy planting machine, Autos, tractors, Poultry, tent house, Diary industry, Oil Mill, grinding mill, cement and bricks business, industry, hotel, Steel, cement and building material shops, photography, videography, Mobile phone shops, Mobile tiffin Centers, Hotels, Cloth emporium, furniture shops etc.
Under Telangana Dalit Bandhu Scheme, Dalit Security Fund is also being set up permanently with the government and beneficiary participation. This Fund will be managed by the District Collectors with a committee of the beneficiaries. Every year a minimum amount will be deposited and it will be continued regularly to further help Dalits to become financially strong and viable.
The scheme envisaged Rs 1200 crore for assisting as many as 11900 families in 119 Assembly segments. It has been planned to allot Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 Crores in addition to Rs 1000 crore made available in the budget to implement the scheme. In the coming four to five years the government envisages to spend around Rs 45000 crore on the schemes' implementation and to help poor Dalits to achieve financial freedom. If necessary, the government is prepared even to spend up to a lakh crore.
Like the Rythu Bandhu Scheme, beneficiaries of Dalit Bandhu Scheme would get the assistance directly into their bank accounts. For this, Dalit family's profiles will be prepared. Since issues of Dalits will not be uniform and they differ from rural, semi urban to Urban areas, classification will be done on these categories to implement the Dalit Bandhu Scheme properly.
To track, monitor and supervise implementation of the scheme, CM KCR put the technology to its best use. Identity cards for the Dalit Bandhu beneficiaries will have an electronic chip inserted for every beneficiary. Through a Bar Code, the transactions will be monitored.
Under Huzurabad Constituency, where the scheme is piloted, in Huzurabad Mandal 5323 Dalit families, Kamalapuram Mandal, 4346 families, Veenavankamandal 3678, Jammikunta Mandal 4996 Dalit families, Illanthagunta Mandal 2586 families, in all 20, 929 families under Huzurabad Assembly segment would be scrutinized for selection of the beneficiaries. For the eligible Dalit families according to the guidelines Dalit Bandhu Scheme would be implemented under saturation mode.
The light that emanates with the success of the Scheme in Huzurabad would spread not only in Telangana but countrywide. As CM said, 'Inspiration should begin somewhere. And Huzurabad is becoming one and people there should feel proud of'. He said rising over the party, ideology and other differences, everyone should work for the success of the Scheme without any fights or differences. If Dalits get victory in Huzurabad and create awareness later all over the State it will follow. If Dalit Bandhu Scheme is successful, the Dalit development will take place. The Huzurabad victory of Dalit Bandhu will be etched permanently in the history of the country. (With VJM Divakar)