Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said his government is ready to spend around Rs 1 lakh crore for Dalit Bandhu, touted as the country’s biggest direct benefit transfer scheme, to empower Dalits across the state.
He said that the programme would be implemented at any cost and there was no going back on it.
KCR’s decision to first implement Dalit Bandhu on a pilot basis, which is due for by-elections, has drawn widespread criticism from the Opposition, which senses a poll stunt.
Responding to critics, the CM at an event wondered what was wrong in taking the political mileage out of the program.
He has said Dalit Bandhu will not just be a scheme or programme, but a movement that the state government will pursue with the Centre for nationwide implementation. A Dalit empowerment programme on these lines was first announced in the state budget earlier this year.
On June 25, the Chief Minister held a first-ever all-party meeting with elected Dalit representatives and leaders to discuss the scheme.
During that meeting, it was 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. An initial outlay of Rs 1,200 crore was sanctioned.