Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today released a separate 19-point manifesto to woo Dalit voters ahead of Assembly election in Punjab. The manifesto makes a number of promises to Dalits in Punjab. If successfully implemented, they would certainly help in improving lives of scores of Dalits in the state. However, this will depend on whether AAP would be able to woo all voters of Punjab and win the election. In a caste-divided society, a separate Dalit manifesto may even backfire.
Here are the top 10 takeaways for Dalits from the AAP’s manifesto:
1. Houses for all Dalits: The AAP government will provide a low-cost housing scheme for all Dalits. Under the scheme, all Dalits will get a pucca house.
2. Stoppage of the practice to the auction of village common land reserved for Dalits to influential persons of other castes by proxies: The AAP government will give such land to cooperative societies of Dalits formed for this purpose.
3. The AAP government will empower the Punjab Scheduled Caste Commission to ensure that grievances of Dalits are taken seriously and discrimination of any kind against Dalits is punished.
4. The AAP government will create a special cell to monitor proper implementation of Post Matric Scholarship scheme, and there will be a time-bound enquiry to identify those who have looted money meant for Dalits under the scheme and to punish the guilty.
5. The AAP government will form a special SIT to fix responsibility and recommend exemplary punishment for atrocities and false cases registered against Dalits in last five years.
6. The AAP government will clear the backlog of job vacancies for Dalits in the state.
7. The AAP government will provide a collateral free loan of Rs 2 lakhs to Dalits so that they can start small businesses or village-based enterprises.
8. The AAP government will start a Social Security Scheme for all Dalits.
9. The AAP government will start a higher education guarantee scheme for Dalits. This will ensure that no child is deprived of higher education for want of money. For this, the AAP government will introduce Higher Education Guarantee Scheme on Delhi pattern to provide education loans up to Rs 10 lakh against government guarantee. Only confirmed admission in a college would be needed to avail the loan. Kanshi Ram Skill University in Doaba Region will also be set up.
10. The AAP government will make a provision for reservation in State Boards and Corporations for Dalits like in government departments.