Four major Cabinet decisions fail to reach beneficiaries

Hyderabad: Even after more than two months, four major Cabinet decisions passed by the state government on March 9 are yet to be implemented.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao at Pragathi Bhavan on March 8 approved the implementation of the second phase of Dalit Bandhu to 1.3 lakh beneficiaries in the 118 Assembly constituencies at the rate of Rs 10 lakh each, the Gruha Lakshmi scheme to extend Rs 3 lakh financial assistance to 3.57 lakh beneficiaries, covering 3,000 beneficiaries in each of the 119 Assembly constituencies to help the poor in constructing houses on their own plots, second phase of sheep distribution to 3.65 lakh beneficiaries and distribution of podu land pattas to 1.55 lakh tribals.

Finance minister T.Harish Rao, who briefed the media, stated that the Cabinet has directed Chief Secretary A. Santhi Kumari and other officials to take immediate steps to implement these schemes. The Cabinet decisions delighted potential beneficiaries because these schemes were long overdue. But two months on, there is no progress on this front. Worse still, there is no clarity from the government over when these schemes would actually be extended to beneficiaries.

While fund crunch being faced by the state government is being cited as reason for the non-implementation of schemes, podu lands issue is reportedly facing procedural hurdles.

In fact, Gruha Lakshmi scheme was promised by the TRS (now BRS) in its manifesto during the December 2018 Assembly polls. At that time, the manifesto promised to extend Rs 5 lakh assistance under this scheme. After three years, the government announced reduction of assistance to Rs 3 lakh in the 2022-23 Budget and even after it is yet to be grounded.

Similarly, the second phase of the Dalit Bandhu scheme was supposed to be implemented in the 2022-23 Budget. The government allocated Rs 17,700 crore for the scheme to cover 1,100 beneficiaries in each of the 118 Assembly constituencies. But due to fund crunch, the government could release just Rs 4,101 crore to cover 38,328 beneficiaries.

The second phase of sheep distribution is also pending since 2017. A total of 7.31 lakh beneficiaries were identified for this scheme in 2017. In the first phase, 3.65 lakh beneficiaries were covered in 2017 and 2018.

The second phase to cover remaining 3.65 lakh failed to take off so far. For the past nine years, the fate of the STs, who are waiting for pattas for podu lands, has been in limbo. Although the state government made repeated promises in the last nine years to distribute pattas to tribals undertaking agriculture on forest lands, it did not materialise.

In October 2021, the Chief Minister announced an action plan to distribute pattas and directed officials in all districts to seek applications from the STs holding these lands, conduct inquiry to determine the genuinity of applications and handover pattas to eligible beneficiaries, but there has been no progress even after three years.

The state government allocated Rs 17,700 crore for Dalit Bandhu, Rs 4,463 crore for sheep distribution and Rs 12,000 crore for Gruha Lakshmi in this year's Budget 202-23-24. But no funds were released so far due to which the schemes could not be extended to beneficiaries.

Interestingly, soon after inaugurating the new Telangana Secretariat complex on April 30, Rao signed six files after occupying his seat in his chambers on the sixth floor. Of them, the first two files pertain to extension of the Dalit Bandhu scheme and the distribution of pattas for podu lands. This again raised the hopes of beneficiaries but no progress was made even after 16 days.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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