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Punjab to spend 30% of funds in all state govt schemes on SC Welfare: Capt Amarinder

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Chandigarh, April 14, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Punjab government will spend at least 30% of funds under all government schemes for the welfare of the state’s SC population.

This was announced on Wednesday by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, along with a host of other measures for the uplift of the Dalit community, as a mark of homage to Dr BR Ambedkar, who he said should be remembered as the first Indian who achieved so much for the Dalit Samaj.

Paying floral tributes to the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar, on his 130th birth anniversary, at a virtual state-level event, the Chief Minister also announced filling up of the SC vacancy backlog in all departments on priority, while promising to explore a post-matric overseas scholarship scheme for SC students, on the lines of the Baroda State Scholarship Scheme awarded to Baba Sahib under a scheme established by Sayajirao Gaekwad III.

The Chief Minister further announced a special Rs 500 crore Rural Link Roads project for FY2022. The project will encompass construction of new link roads to the Bastis of Scheduled Castes and other poorer sections of the society, which do not currently have road connectivity. Shamshan ghats and places of worship will also be connected through the project.

A special allocation of Rs. 100 crore is proposed in 2021-22 for modernisation of villages having more than 50% SC population, said the Chief Minister, adding this was aimed at providing further impetus to existing grants in the villages having Scheduled Caste population greater than or equal to 50% of the total population.

Smart phones will be given to all Class 12 SC students in government schools, while to motivate people to take up dairy farming, 150 village-level awareness camps and training at 9 Training & Extension Centres will be conducted, with special emphasis on Scheduled Caste beneficiarie, he added.

The Chief Minister further announced that his government also proposes to provide 30% reservation for SC applicants in villages under the `Har Ghar Pakki Chhat’ scheme, and also 30% in the affordable housing scheme for EWS. His government also plans to set up a Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Institute of Training at Jalandhar for competitive exams, including Civil Services.

Proposed to be established under GGRK mission, it will have 50% seat reservation for candidates belonging to SC families. Other projects planned include Dr. BR Ambedkar museum and Dr. BR Ambedkar Institute of Management in PTU Campus, Kapurthala, he added.

Lamenting the anti-Dalit mindset that still exists in the country, the Chief Minister underlined the need for better awareness among the people. Unfortunately, he said he did not have the resources to do all that he really wanted to do to spread Dr Ambedkar’s message.

Captain Amarinder recalled that when Rajiv Gandhi contested for the first time from Amethi, after the death of his brother Sanjay Gandhi, the campaigning task was handed over to him for one of the four areas in the constituency.

He went on to recall: “A SC youth who was deputed to help me wanted to get off the jeep before entering an upper caste dominated village, but I did not allow him to. He was standing next to me when the villagers offered me water, asking him to go out. But I made it clear that he will not go out alone. So I also left the place, telling them – “Votan pao ya na pao, appa jaa rahe hain”. (Give us votes or not, we are going!)

Remembering Baba Rao Ambedkar’s unparalleled contribution to the nation, the Chief Minister said the son of a Subedar, he worked hard and studied when majority did not go to school. After studying at Columbia University (USA) & London School of Economics, he was also called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn (London).

A Professor of Political Economy in the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, he practiced Law in the Bombay High Court, before going on to become India’s first Law Minister, and then the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee. The Chief Minister said he was proud to be paying homage to a brilliant man, who drafted the Constitution on which the country is still running.

On the occasion, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan cited some of the steps taken by the state government for Dalit welfare.

Cabinet Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot lauded the various measures taken by the Captain Amarinder government, including increase in the Shagun amount and revival of post-matric scholarship scheme, which was stopped by the Centre.

His colleagues Aruna Chaudhary appreciated the commendable and revolutionary steps taken for Dalit women and girls, while Charanjit Singh Channi stressed the need for the implementation of the 85th amendment, and regular recruitment of Dalits, along with reservations for Dalits in private schools, police department, AG office and Chairmen of Boards.

PPCC president Sunil Jakhar criticised the `manuwadi soch’ that still divides the society on the basis of caste, colour, creed, with no financial equality and Dalits still treated as untouchables. People who promote this mindset are playing with the sentiments of the community and Baba Sahib’s ideology, he said, adding that it is “our responsibility to spread awareness among the SC community against their exploitation.”

MLA Raj Kumar Verka suggested setting up a committee for implementation of the 85th amendment, as well as increase in wages and permanent employment for safai karamcharis.

Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, congratulated the Chief Minister on his visionary outlook for the SC community.

Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh Chaudhry and MLA Raj Kumar Chabbewal also shared their thoughts on Baba Saheb on the occasion.

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