MLAs in Telangana can no longer select Dalit Bandhu beneficiaries
Hyderabad: Legislators, who were given the authority to select beneficiaries when the Telangana government launched the Dalit Bandhu scheme in 2021, will now be stripped of their powers, and the state government will begin redrafting beneficiary selection guidelines following the High Court’s orders.
Following a petition in the Telangana High Court alleging misuse of the scheme for political gain, as well as irregularities in beneficiary selections made by BRS MLAs, the court issued orders on November 18 directing that a committee appointed by the state government receive applications and select beneficiaries for Dalit Bandhu, rather than MLAs.
According to official sources, the revised guidelines recommend that Dalit Bandhu be implemented on a saturation basis in villages and wards in every constituency where the Dalit population is marginal, and that the scheme be extended to other villages and wards in ascending order of population. Currently, MLAs choose 100 beneficiaries from their constituency.
Further, the amended guidelines propose holding gram and ward sabhas for beneficiary selection to ensure transparency.
In August 2021, the state government launched the scheme, which will provide Rs 10 lakh to each Dalit family to set up units of their choice for self-employment. The legislators were initially tasked to select 100 beneficiaries in their respective constituencies in 2021-22, which sparked protests in several constituencies, with Dalits accusing MLAs of extending the benefit only to their supporters, TRS (now BRS) workers, or family members and friends. Even in seats held by Congress MLAs and BJP MLAs, BRS leaders allegedly influenced beneficiary selection by exerting pressure on officials.
In spite of allegations of misuse of power and irregularities in implementing the scheme, the Telangana government gave the MLAs the authority to select 1,500 beneficiaries across their constituencies in three phases, at 500 in each phase. The selection of the first phase was completed recently but the government is yet to release the amount. Following a petition, the High Court ordered the Telangana government to appoint a committee, rather than MLAs, to pick beneficiaries.
Courtesy : Deccan chronicle
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