Hyderabad: Welfare schemes of Telangana government have run into doldrums with no periodic monitoring of their implementation, funds required and funds released. Except for Rythu Bandhu, all other welfare schemes, such as KCR Kits, Arogyasri, Kalyana Laxmi, Shaadi Mubarak, fee reimbursement, scholarships, Aasara pensions, sheep distribution and crop loan waiver, among others, are facing a severe fund crunch.
As a result, arrears in disbursement of these schemes have mounted. They are not reaching lakhs of beneficiaries in time, causing hardships to them.
Normally, the chief minister or ministers of departments concerned monitor implementation of welfare schemes by holding review meetings at least once a month. However, official sources have disclosed that no such meetings have been held in the past seven years. The enthusiasm being shown in launching new schemes is missing when it comes to monitoring or implementing those schemes.
For instance, KCR Kits scheme had been launched amid much fanfare in 2017. It became a huge hit with institutional deliveries in government hospitals increasing by 25 percent. Under this scheme, government provides new mothers a kit containing a baby mattress, baby soap, oil, talcum powder, mosquito net, toys, napkins, diapers, two pairs of clothes, and two handloom sarees for the new mother free of cost, besides financial assistance of Rs. 13,000 in four instalments for a female child and Rs. 12,000 in case of a male child.
But due to fund crunch, beneficiaries are now getting just the kit and no financial assistance. In undivided Medak district, represented by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and finance minister T. Harish Rao, thousands of beneficiaries have been awaiting financial assistance under KCR kits since past two years.
Another instance of welfare schemes failing is corporate and private hospitals not honouring Arogyasri health cards, as the government owes them arrears of Rs. 1,300 crore.
Further, over 12.5 lakh students pursuing professional and higher education courses are awaiting fee reimbursement arrears of Rs. 3,800 crore since 2018–19. Because of this, students, who have finished their courses, are facing trouble; as colleges are holding back their original certificates, forcing students to pay what is due by the government. Poor, who cannot afford to pay, are losing out on higher education. They are also not getting any job opportunities, as they are unable to show their new employers original certificates.
The list of mounting arrears of welfare schemes is endless. To mention a few, government owes arrears of Rs. 300 crore under Kalyana Laxmi and Shaadi Mubarak. Women, who got married three years ago and have children, are still awaiting the benefit.
Nearly one lakh women SHGs (self-help groups) in Telangana have not got arrears of Rs. 2,500 crore since five years.
3.76 lakh are beneficiaries covered under sheep distribution scheme. 3.50 lakh of them are yet to receive their sheep since June 2017, when KCR launched the scheme with a promise to cover all beneficiaries within two years. Worse is 25,000 of them have paid their own contribution of Rs. 31,250 each to government in 2017. Even as they are awaiting the benefit, they are now being asked to pay an additional Rs. 12,500 each, saying prices of sheep have increased since 2017.
Coming to Aasara pensions, beneficiaries used to receive the amount promptly in the first week of every month, which is now getting delayed by weeks together.
Currently, the entire focus of state government is on Dalit Bandhu. Rs. 2,000 crore have been allotted for it in Huzurabad constituency alone, where by-poll is due. This too has left no funds for other schemes....