Ruling party MLA’s brother among beneficiaries of ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme in Telangana

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Relatives of some Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders allegedly figure among the beneficiaries of ‘Dalit Bandhu’, the flagship scheme of the state government for empowerment of Dalits.

The TRS government has come under criticism after the brother of a ruling party legislator figured in the list of beneficiaries of the scheme was circulated widely on social media.

Former Deputy Chief Minister and MLA Thatikonda Rajaiah’s brother Thatikonda Suresh Kumar is allegedly among those who were sanctioned Rs.10 lakh each under the scheme.

Rajaiah is a member of the Assembly from Station Ghanpur constituency (SC) in Jangaon district while Suresh Kumar is a village sarpanch in the same constituency.

Relatives of some local public representatives of the ruling party in the constituency are also said to be among the beneficiaries.

Leaders of opposition Congress and BJP have alleged that the MLA got his relatives and followers included in the list of beneficiaries of ‘Dalit Bandhu’. They said the benefits of the scheme are not reaching the poor Dalits who deserve the financial assistance as the rich and powerful were cornering the benefits.

The ruling party, however, dismissed the allegations of irregularities in the scheme and called them a part of conspiracy by the opposition to derail the scheme. A senior leader said the government would take corrective measures if specific instances come to its notice. He, however, condemned the allegations that the TRS leaders were enjoying benefits of the scheme meant for Dalits.

In 2022-23 budget presented in the Assembly last month, Rs 17,700 crore was allocated for Dalit Bandhu which was launched last year on pilot basis for economic empowerment of Dalits. Under the scheme, every Dalit family will get Rs 10 lakh grant for any entrepreneurial activity of its choice.

The TRS government says it is the first of its kind scheme in the country providing the highest amount of assistance directly to the beneficiary.

Finance Minister Harish Rao had announced that in all the Assembly segments of the state, 11,800 families would get the benefit at the rate of 100 families per segment.

He also stated that by the end of next financial year, the scheme would cover two lakh families.

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