On Tuesday, after paying his respects to Dalit leader Dr Babsaheb Ambedkar at Chaityabhoomi, Ranjit Kamble, 45, stood in a huddle outside Shivaji Park listening to a discourse on government schemes available for Dalits, scheduled caste and scheduled tribes (SC/STs).
When Kamble, who lives in Belapur, was asked to write down his name and address for a survey being conducted by the state’s social justice department, he asked whether the exercise would help him in any way.
“Once you give us your information, we will soon contact you by sending an SMS on your mobile phone or through post to inform you about how various government schemes can be utilised by you,” said Vikas Sontate, 46, who was collecting the survey data.
Sontate claimed that funds and schemes created for the Dalits and the SC/STs were not utilised. “Filling this form will help you to know about various schemes,” Sontate told him.
Reassured, Kamble duly filled up one of the forms like many of the four lakh people who came to the city to pay their tributes at Chaityabhoomi on Mahaparinirvan Day (Ambedkar’s death anniversary).
The state government’s social justice department and the Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) in Pune, chose the occasion of Ambedkar Punyatithi to start the survey that will create a database of Dalits and SC/STs in the state.
The survey was also conducted in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kolhapur and Dhule and will end this week.
“BARTI has been helping Dalit and SC/ST students with their civil services exam preparations and foreign education scholarships. Though this project is in its nascent stage, our plan is to plug the holes in welfare schemes and help them reach the desired beneficiaries. We will also go door to door in the second stage of the project,” said an official from BARTI.