Opinions divided over Dalit Bandhu

EC seeks details about rationale behind the scheme

KARIMNAGAR: The announcement of Dalit Bandhu scheme by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao not only created waves in the state political circles because of its timing but has also raised several doubts about its implementation as many such schemes and promises made earlier have been pushed to the backburner.

Ostensibly meant to empower Scheduled Castes and dalits, the state government is facing criticism even as there are doubts about the rationale behind the scheme. The reactions have been mixed, including from dalit associations, while opposition leaders have termed it as a political stunt to lure dalit voters ahead of the Huzurabad by-election.

This was the finding of Deccan Chronicle after visiting various villages and interacting with dalits and other Huzurabad locals.

One Manda Anil said that unlike the previous governments which released limited funds for self-employment schemes, Rao is embarking on a major forward step for the overall growth of dalits, although dalit families never made any lofty demands. With Rs. 10 lakh sanctioned for poor families, the scheme can usher in golden days in every dalit household, he said.

Chinta Lingaiah of Ellandhakunta mandal said that TRS leaders visited their village and prepared the list of beneficiaries. They said that the scheme will be allotted first to only 20 members and that too to those who do not have any source of income and are living under miserable conditions.

“The TRS leaders were unclear when asked about the second phase,” he said.

Burra Kumar, an unemployed youth of Gudur village, said that he got married and was living separately with his wife and son in a rented house. But the leaders entered the name of his father in the list.

“My father lives in his house with my siblings. If they short-list the names of beneficiaries, my father’s name will definitely not figure in the list. Is it not unfair denying the scheme to a dalit like me with no job”, he asked.

Principal secretary of Telangana social welfare department, Rahul Bojja in a recent review meeting at Karimnagar had said that Dalit Bandhu scheme was meant to uplift dalit families, both economically and socially.

Yerra Ramesh of Vangapally village expressed doubts about the nature of units that will be preferred. Though, the government has asked dalits to select units of their own choice, it did not give any clarity if it will extend the scheme benefits if around four or five persons opt for a similar unit in a single village. Can having so many units in the same village make economic sense to the beneficiaries, he wondered.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India sought details of Dalit Bandhu scheme following a complaint lodged by ‘Forum for good governance’, which said that the scheme is to be implemented in Huzurabad Assembly constituency.

The EC issued orders to the Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel to submit a report while clarifying whether the scheme was a newly introduced one or has been in existence, whether it is meant to lure Huzurabad electorate and whether it will maintain transparency.

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