Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been leading in providing benefits to poorest of poor in the state by launching several pro-poor and pro-Dalit schemes in the state. Recent array of schemes which were announced during the budget of state government in March early this year bear testimony to the fact that the SAD-BJP government is committed to the cause of Dalits and other poor sections in the state.
The announcement of allocation of Rs 100 crore corpus as SC scholarship fund to be given to the universities and institutes on behalf of the SC students and doling out of interest-free study loan of upto Rs 5 lakh for the youth from economically weaker section were some of the new initiatives which will go a long way in benefiting the poor sections in all over the state. Akali Chief Parliamentary Secretary and SC leader Pawan Tinu, says this announcement meant that the Punjab government would now be able to disburse funds to the colleges from the corpus till the time centre releases its grants. After the funds reach colleges, this amount would be withdrawn. According to him, till now the state contribution for Centre’s Post Matric Scholarship Scheme stood at Rs 68 crore for six years even as the number of beneficiaries under the scheme had risen from 35,000 to 3.75 lakh. He mentions that the starting of interest-free loan scheme for poor students would also help aspiring students with limited means and resources in a major way to pursue their dreams.
Biggest every employment scheme
In fact it was during the Parkash Singh Badal led government that Punjab witnessed the launch of the biggest ever employment drive in history and more than 1.14 lakh government jobs are being offered to youth in the state. Besides, Punjab has become the the first state to launch Atta Dal Scheme, making eldest women of the family as head and by far helping 1.42 crore beneficiaries.
A Health Insurance Card has also been issued to every poor, while Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Beema Yojana offering free treatment up to Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh compensation for accidental death for incapacitation of head of family is also being given. Already more than 28.05 lakh people have benefitted from the initiative.
Apart from this, Rs 50,000 insurance cover for families of construction workers, regular medical examination of construction workers/families on construction sites toilets for labourers at construction sites and their colonies and is being ensured by the government. It has also been provisioned that the teams of medical experts would visit construction sites with Mobile Van fitted with X-ray machine and medical lab to diagnose diseases.
Special focus on girls
Focussing on the welfare of girls from the poor sections, Shagun scheme has been launched for the girls from SC/BC,Christians and economically weaker sections. The government has also introduced Bebe Nanaki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme to provide financial assistance to poor families to bring up girl child and to curb the menace of female foeticide. Free Punjabi Stenography training is provided to SC candidates. Punjab provides free power to farmers and spends approximately Rs 6,000 per year for it.
“We believe in ‘Sarbat da Bhala’ and have launched schemes for every section of Punjab. Various pro-poor welfare programmes – insurance cover, free medical treatment to blue card holders, 200 units of free power, Atta-Dal scheme for BPL card holders besides 5 marla plots for free housing are being implemented by Punjab Government, which are going to help Dalits and poor all over the state.
At present total Dalit population in Punjab 32%. Of the total cultivable land of 168910 acres, land reserved for Dalits about 56303 acres which is about 33% of the total land.