In news- Telangana has proposed to launch the country’s biggest direct benefit transfer scheme called ‘Dalit Bandhu’, to empower Dalits across the state.
About the scheme-
- It is envisioned as a welfare scheme for empowering Dalit families and enable entrepreneurship among them.
- A Dalit empowerment programme on these lines was first announced in the state budget earlier this year.
- It has been decided that 11,900 Dalit families, 100 each from 119 Assembly constituencies in the state, would be selected for cash assistance of Rs 10 lakh each without any bank guarantee to start their businesses.
- This will not be a loan and there will be no need to repay it.
- An initial outlay of Rs 1,200 crore has been sanctioned.
- The funds allocated for the scheme would be over and above the funds earmarked for the SC Sub Plan.
- It would be first implemented on a pilot basis in Huzurabad Assembly Constituency.
- Based on the experiences of implementation in Huzurabad, the scheme will be rolled out across the state in a phased manner.
- The pilot project will focus on monitoring the implementation of the scheme, evaluating the results, and also creating a safety fund for the beneficiaries with the government’s participation.
- To promote Dalit entrepreneurship, the government has decided to start a system of reservation for Dalits in sectors where the government issues licences like wine shops, medical shops, fertiliser shops, rice mills, etc.
- Apart from monetary assistance, the government plans to create a corpus called the Dalit Security Fund permanently to support the beneficiary in the event of any adversities.
- This fund will be managed by the district collector concerned, along with a committee of beneficiaries.
- A minimum amount will be deposited by the beneficiary towards this fund.
- The beneficiary would be issued an identity card with an electronic chip, which will help the government monitor the progress of the scheme.