The state government has decided to allocate Rs 125 crore for programmes marking the 125th birth anniversary year of Dr B R Ambedkar.
The funds will also be used to initiate a soft loan scheme for sugar mills enabling the state to pay off sugarcane farmers. The decision was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The funds would be used for the events commemorating Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations, which started on April 14 this year and will continue till April 14, 2016. This period is being observed as ‘equality and social justice year’, an official statement said.
Minister for Social Justice Rajkumar Badole said that as part of the celebrations, initiatives such as encouraging Dalit entrepreneurs, encouraging research on life and thoughts of Dr Ambedkar, setting up hostels for Dalit women in every district, etc. were under consideration.
The minister said that the government was also contemplating a scheme to develop a Dalit locality as a ‘Smart Locality’, where schools, hospitals and other infrastructure will be developed.
Memorial work to start
The work on Ambedkar’s memorial at the Indu mills land in central Mumbai will start this year as well. ‘Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Samata Pratishthan' will be set up on the lines of the Centre’s Ambedkar Foundation.
The state also has plans to develop the places related to Ambedkar’s life into tourist destinations, the minister said. Further, the Babasaheb Ambedkar Research Institute at Pune will get a new administrative building and a bigger campus.
The cabinet has also decided to set up a ministerial committee to oversee the programmes during the period.
They will also implement a soft loan scheme for sugar factories, to enable the state to pay fair and remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane growers.
FRP is the minimum price to be paid by the sugar mills to the growers. Under the scheme, loans of Rs 187.76 crore would be available for eligible mills, the statement said.