Killianwali (Lambi): Describing Scheduled Caste (SC) community as ‘backbone of the state,’ Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has always been a votary of their rights.
“SAD has taken historic initiatives for SCs’ overall welfare during its past decade long regime as the community is backbone of the state,” he said here.
Addressing a ‘Dalit Chetna’ rally here, he said the Sikh Gurus have always repudiated discrimination on account of caste and SAD has ever upheld the philosophy of the Gurus.
The SC community comprises around 32 per cent population of Punjab.
Listing ‘pro-poor initiatives’ taken by his government for the ‘welfare’ of unprivileged sections of the society, Badal said SAD government started ‘Atta-Dal scheme’ and so far wheat and pulses worth Rs 3,415 crore have been distributed among the beneficiaries.
“At present, 1.13 crore people were covered under Atta-Dal scheme and with the addition of seven lakh more families, the total number of people covered under it would go up to 1.41 crore, about half of state’s population,” he said.
The financial grant given under the ‘Shagun scheme’ to Scheduled Castes, Muslim and Christian communities besides economically poor for the marriage of their daughters had been enhanced from Rs 5,100 to Rs 15,000, Badal said.
Old age pension had also been doubled from Rs 250 to Rs 500 per month, he said.
He said that Scheduled Caste families were provided with free domestic electricity up to 200 units.
The CM said under ‘Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana’ 21.90 lakh families have been given the facility.
SC students from Classes I to X were provided with free books, the CM said adding more than four lakh girls from government schools studying in Classes XI and XII had been given free bicycles.
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