The Forum for Good Governance has urged Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to order for an evaluation of Dalit Bandhu, the State’s flagship scheme for promoting entrepreneurship among dalits.
The forum expressed concern over the general talk that the novel scheme is being cornered by the ruling party workers, and said it should achieve the intended goal as a lot of tax payers’ money is involved in it. FGG secretary M. Padmanabha Reddy welcomed the introduction of the scheme and supported the decision taken by the Chief Minister to earmark ₹17,700 crore for Dalit Bandhu during the current financial year.
However, a survey conducted by the FGG in Vasalamarri where the scheme was grounded a year ago revealed that no tangible results were seen. The village, with a total population of 1,763, had 249 dalits. Among irregularities found in implementation of the scheme was selection of beneficiaries. “As against 52 families, 75 beneficiaries were selected. In some families, more than one beneficiary is selected,” Mr. Padmanabha Reddy said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
Easy to pick and choose method was adopted in selection of activities, most of which were owning goods vehicles and dozers. With beneficiaries being women, the beneficiary or other male member of the family were not having licence to drive and as such they were forced to engage a driver leading to cost escalation and subsequently, some had disposed of the assets.
Listing out other lapses in implementation of the scheme, he said legislators were virtually selecting the beneficiaries, mostly belonging to their followers and party workers. “In some cases, followers of the MLAs are collecting ₹2 lakh to ₹3 lakh from beneficiaries to get approval of the MLA,” he said.
He recalled a case in Karimnagar district where the Collector directed the beneficiary to obtain approval of the local MLA and the matter landed in the court. The court had directed that the district collector select the beneficiaries as per guidelines since MLA had no role in the selection process. Keeping these in view, the government should order for evaluation of the scheme, he said.