The Punjab Government under Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal has been in the forefront of launching several pro-poor and pro-Dalit schemes in the state with the aim that benefits of such schemes reach poorest of the poor”. Reacting to a memorandum submitted by Congress to Governor alleging discrimination being meted out to the Dalits in Punjab, Secretary General of Shiromani Akali Dal Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said here today that ‘the Congress memorandum was bereft of truth and was a figment of imagination”. “We believe in ‘sarbat da bhala’ and have launched schemes for every section of Punjab, he said. He said that Punjab Government has launched the biggest ever employment drive in history and more than 1.14 lakh government jobs are being offered to youth of Punjab. Punjab is the first state to launch Atta Dal Scheme, making eldest women of the family as head and by far helping1.42 crore beneficiaries. A Health Insurance Card has 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, incapacitation of head of family is given. So far 28.05 lakh people have availed of this. Not only that Rs. 50,000 insurance cover for families of construction workers, toilets for labourers at construction sites and their colonies and regular medical examination of construction workers/families on construction sites is being ensured. Teams of medical experts to visit construction sites with Mobile Van fitted with X-ray machine and medical lab to diagnose diseases.
Dhindsa said that “Punjab provides free power to farmers and spends approximately Rs 6,000 per year for it. Shagun scheme has been launched for Girls from SC/BC/Christians/Economically weaker sections.Then there is Bebe Nanaki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme to provide financial assistance to poor families to bring up girl child to check the menace of female foeticide. Free Punjabi Stenography training is provided to SC candidates.Free text books to Scheduled Caste students from classes 1st to 10th in both Govt/private recognized schools”. He said that the result is that poverty has been reduced in Punjab with number of poor at 20.9% in 2004-05 going down at 8.26 by 2012. The national average was 21.92% by 2012.