Vijayawada: As many as 2,48,468 autorickshaw and taxi drivers across the state received Rs 248.47 crore financial aid under YSR Vahana Mithra scheme on Tuesday. For the third year in a row and a month in advance, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday credited the money directly to their accounts. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister asked them to utilise the aid was being provided to meet recurring expenses, insurance, maintenance and procurement of fitness certificate.
The CM said that during his 3,648 km padayatra he witnessed the difficulties of autorickshaw drivers, who hardly earn Rs 500 a day and have to pay a huge sum of Rs 10,000 towards insurance and other expenses required for getting a fitness certificate and, hence, the government came up with the initiative. Almost 84 per cent of the beneficiaries are from SC, ST, BC and minorities, he noted, adding that the scheme not only benefits the drivers but also passengers who can experience a safe journey.
The Chief Minister informed that so far under YSR Vahana Mithra, Rs 759 crore was credited directly into the accounts of beneficiaries and such a scheme is available only in Andhra Pradesh in the country. He said as many as 42,932 beneficiaries newly applied for the scheme this year, taking the total number to 2,48,468. Those left out by the scheme can still apply at village/ward secretariats and their applications would be considered if they are eligible. He said people can contact on 9154294326 or 1902 to know details about the scheme or lodge a complaint. He said the government also set up a task force in the transport section for the smooth run of the scheme.
Hitting back at the opposition leaders over the false propaganda, the CM said that auto and taxi drivers were looted by the previous government with taxes and penalties. Going into the details, he said that Rs 7.39 crore had been collected towards compounded fees, tax and penalties from the auto drivers during 2015-16.
Various fees and penalties amounted to Rs 9.68 crore 2016-17, Rs 10.19 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 7.09 crore in 2018-19. In contrast, under the YSRC government, only Rs 68.44 lakh was collected through penalties and taxes in 2019-20 and in 2020-21 it was just Rs 35 lakh. He said the TD leaders published a book of 94 mistakes even as the government fulfilled over 94 per cent of the promises made in the last two years.
The opposition cited YSR Vahana Mithra as one of the 94 mistakes, but in reality, taxes and penalty fees came down significantly after YSRC came to power.
Further, the Chief Minister requested the auto drivers to follow traffic rules and never to drive under the influence of alcohol. Deputy CM K. Narayana Swamy, ministers Perni Venkataramaiah, Ch. Venu Gopala Krishna, principal secretary (transport) M.T. Krishna Babu, Commissioner of Transport P.S.R. Anjaneyulu and other officials were present at the event....