Bihar extends Mahadalit benefits to SC, ST category

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PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said all schemes for ‘Mahadalits’ in the state will now be extended to the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories.

“We have taken a decision that all the schemes being run by Mahadalit Vikas Mission for the development of Mahadalits in the state will also be extended to the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) people,” Kumar said.

All the schemes — be it provding land for housing or Dashrath Manjhi Skill Development scheme — will be provided to the people belonging to SC and ST category, Kumar said.

He also announced that a dependent of a ‘Chowkidar’ can get the same job if an application is made prior to his retirement.

Kumar also announced that the Chowkidars’ stipend will be increased from Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000 per year.

With today’s announcement, the Paswans (Dusadh community) who were excluded from the Mahadalit category, created before the 2010 Assembly polls, has now been included into the Mahadalit grouping whose numbers have gone up from 21 to 22.

Kumar made the announcement at the national conference of Dalit Sena organised on the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar here in the presence of prominent leaders of all the four constituents – BJP, JD(U), RLSP and LJP – of the NDA.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Upendra Kushwaha, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Chirag Paswan, Ram Chandra Paswan, Bihar Minister Pashupati Paras, ex minister and JDU MLC Ashok Choudhary apart from a host of other leaders.

Of the 22 castes in the SC category, the Nitish Kumar government had included 18 out of 22 scheduled castes into the ‘Mahadalit’ category, putting special emphasis on their development on the recommendations of State Mahadalit Commission.

Later, the government included two more castes into the Mahadalit list based on the Commission’s recommendations, thus leaving ‘Chamar’ and ‘Paswan’ out of the ambit.

The state government again included ‘Chamar’ into ‘Mahadalit’ category leaving ‘Paswans’ out of the grouping because of Ram Vilas Paswan, who is the leader of Paswans in Bihar, but was not aligned with the ruling dispensation of Bihar.

Slamming the RJD leaders for their claim to be the champions of Dalits, Kumar said that husband-wife duo ruled the state for 15 years but did little for their upliftment.

Citing examples, Kumar said that the amount for scholarships of SC and ST students was Rs 32.71 crore in 2005-06, which has now been increased to Rs 428 crore.

Similarly, the budget of SC and ST Welfare department was Rs 40.48 crore in 2005-06 which has increased to Rs 1,550 crore, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that “Now both brothers (Paswan himself and Nitish) have come together. Dalits will come into the mainstream.