Former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir of the Congress on Wednesday demanded that both central and Telangana governments should declare ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme as tax-free.
“Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao do not seem to be honest towards Dalit Bandhu scheme and is only aiming to win Huzurabad by-elections. The TRS government did not take legal precautions to ensure that this scheme is implemented without any hurdles. Any income above Rs 5 lakh is taxable. Therefore, all the beneficiaries of Dalit Bandhu will get notices from the IT department after they receive Rs 10 lakh and they will be forced to pay 15% income tax,” Shabbir Ali said.
The state government should approach the centre seeking IT exemption for the scheme so that the beneficiaries will get Rs 10 lakh without any deductions. Also, the government has released over Rs 1,200 crore towards Dalit Bandhu scheme without issuing detailed guidelines, he said.
“The CM is only giving vague figures of intended beneficiaries. At one point of time he said 12 lakhs of 17 lakh Dalit families will be eligible and later, he announced that all 17 lakh families will be given Rs 10 lakh each. So far, the amount has been released only for nearly 20,000 beneficiaries while only 15 people were actually handed over the cheques. The same trick was used for the 2BHK scheme. A few units were constructed and they were used as posters during election campaigns to lure voters. CM KCR should specify how he plans to mobilise Rs. 1.70 lakh crore, along with a deadline, to implement the scheme in the state,” he demanded.
“The state government should clarify on eligibility criteria too. Who is eligible? All Dalits or only poor Dalits with white ration cards? Or only Dalits of the Huzurabad constituency or other constituencies facing by-elections? CM KCR should make it clear, in writing, that all Dalits taking the benefit of Dalit Bandhu will continue to get other benefits like white ration cards, 2BHK houses, 3-acre land, monthly Aasara pensions, scholarships, Aarogyasri and all other benefits,” he said.
Shabbir Ali said that the scheme should also be extended to Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes, Minorities, Economically Weaker Sections and all other poor families.
“The Right to Equality is a Fundamental Right guaranteed by the Constitutions of India. Article 15 of the Constitution says that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. Therefore, people belonging to other communities are also eligible to get the same benefits as Dalits if they meet the criteria,” he said.
Shabbir Ali also congratulated the Muslim community on the occasion of ‘Muslim Reservation Day’ (August 25). He recalled that the Congress party initiated the process to give quota in jobs and education to Muslims exactly 27 years ago.
“On August 25, 1994, the then Congress Government had issued GO MS No. 30 to provide reservations to 14 Castes including Muslims. Although it could not be implemented immediately after the Congress party lost the 1994 elections. But in 2004, within 58 days after coming to power, the then Congress Govt implemented 5% Muslim reservation and then reduced it to 4% on High Court’s order. Nearly 20 lakh poor Muslims in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh benefitted from the 4% quota in the last 16-17 years,” he claimed.