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All Dalit families to be covered under 'Dalit Bandu': KCR

Unfazed by the criticism from the opposition, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao on Monday launched his ambitious "Dalit Bandhu" scheme, on a pilot basis, in Huzurabad constituency where by-elections are due.

Addressing a public meeting at Shalapaly in Karimnagar district, he announced that the all the 17 lakh Dalit families will be benefited from the scheme. The population of Dalits in the state is 75 lakh.

Under "Dalit Bandhu', every beneficiary Dalit family will get Rs 10 lakh as grant and will be free to choose their profession, self-employment, or businesses for utilising the funds.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, said that the government will disburse over Rs 2,000 crore to 21,000 Dalit families in Huzurabad in next two months.

He said there will be no selection of beneficiaries in Huzurabad, as the scheme will be implemented for all the Scheduled Caste families in a saturation mode.

Stating that the government has already released Rs 500 crore for implementation of the scheme in Huzurabad, he said another Rs 2,000 crore would be released soon.

He said that if Dalit Bandhu is implemented for all 17 lakh SC families in the state, it will cost Rs 1.7 lakh crore, and the government will allocate Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore in the budget every year for 3 to 4 years.

Noting that the scheme would bring a qualitative change in the lives of SCs in next four-five years, he said that to start with, the poorest of the poor among the SC families will receive the financial assistance.

He also announced that Dalit government employees will also be covered under Dalit Bandhu. "We will implement Dalit Bandhu on the lines of Rythu Bandhu under which investment support is being provided to every farmer without any exception," he said.

The Chief Minister dismissed the opposition criticism for launching the scheme from Huzurabad. "The parties which did not spend a paisa for poor are criticising us," he said and asked why Congress or BJP PMs never thought about launching a scheme like Rythu Bandhu.

He slammed the opposition for absurd demands and arguments. He said his detractors had always raised doubts over his plans - from Telangana movement to free power and Kaleshwaram project to Mission Bhagiratha.

KCR said politics was a game for the opposition parties, but for Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), it is a responsibility to achieve social goals in the newly created Telangana state.

On the criticism from opposition for choosing Huzurabad to launcg the scheme, KCR recalled that major schemes like Rythu Bandhu were launched from Karimanagar district. He also pointed out that first major public meeting under Telangana movement was organised here.

KCR said he wanted to launch the scheme more than a year ago but the same was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Reiterating that Dalit Bandhu to financially empower Dalits and thereby free them from social discrimination will bring new light in their lives, he appealed to people of Huzurabad constituency to support the beneficiaries and make the scheme a grand success. He asked Huzurabad constituency to set an example for the entire country.

Ministers, MPs, state legislators, other public representatives and officials attended the meeting.

The opposition parties hit out at KCR for launching Dalit Bandhu from Huzurabad as by-election there is likely to be held soon. They alleged that he was doing this to lure the voters.

Huzurabad seat fell vacant following resignation of former minister E. Rajender after he was dropped from the Cabinet by KCR.

Rajender recently joined the BJP and plans to contest the bypoll as the saffron party candidate.

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