RAIPUR: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reiterated his commitment to waiving off farm loans in Chhattisgarh on Sunday and also strongly defended the party’s stance on a caste census, stating that its outcome would mark the beginning of a new chapter in the progress and development of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Adivasis, and Dalits in the country.
Addressing an impressive election meeting in Rajnandgaon in poll bound Chhattisgarh, he mentioned that the Congress governments in Karnataka and Rajasthan have already initiated the process of a caste survey.In Chhattisgarh, this process will commence immediately after the Congress regains power in next month’s assembly elections.

“There is no available data on the actual number of OBCs, Adivasis, Dalits, and their respective sub-castes. OBCs are estimated to make up around 50 percent of the population. People question the need for a caste census,” he explained. He also pointed out that 90 IAS officers, who serve as secretaries in the Government of India, make decisions about fund allocation. Only three of these officers belong to OBCs, despite OBCs constituting about 50 percent of the population.

Chhattisgarh assembly polls 2023: Caste-based census will begin in two hours if voted to power at Centre, says Rahul Gandhi

“In the case of Adivasis, officers from tribal communities make decisions on only 0.1 percent of the total funds allocated, and it’s around one percent when it comes to Dalits,” he added.
The former Congress president noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who often speaks about empowering OBCs, remains silent when it comes to granting rights to these sections of society.

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Gandhi highlighted that the Congress government in Chhattisgarh had fulfilled its previous election promise of waiving off farm loans, procuring paddy from farmers at a support price of Rs 2500, and providing benefits to agricultural laborers. “Now, the farmers in Chhattisgarh are receiving Rs 2640 per quintal, which is more than what our government had promised. Eventually, we aim to raise this amount to Rs 3000,” he added.
Pointing out that the Congress government’s policies and schemes for farmers have brought significant changes to their lives, he mentioned that farmers no longer sell their land. He expressed the Congress’s desire to ensure that farmers, laborers, and small businessmen can flourish.
“The central government has written off significant loans for big businessmen. In which state has the BJP government waived off loans for farmers?” he asked, alleging that the central government had introduced three contentious farm laws that could have benefited large corporations.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Deputy Chief Minister TS Singhdeo, Home Minister Tamradwaj Sahu, and Congress candidates from the assembly constituencies in the Rajnandgaon region were among those present.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by senior leaders, reached Kathiya village near the state capital Raipur. He joined the farmers there for harvesting paddy and engaged in conversations with them.

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