Four months after the Maharashtra Cabinet decided to extend assistance — cash and goods — to a few of the most backward tribes, landless labourers, and needy families from the tribal community facing financial brunt due to the lockdown, not a single rupee has been disbursed to any beneficiary.
According to a source, who shared the information with The Hindu, the file on the decision is making rounds between the Tribal Welfare and Finance Departments, with no final call being taken.
On August 12, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government cleared the Khawati Grants scheme targeting 11.55 lakh tribal families across the State. Under this, each family was to be benefited by ₹2,000 being deposited in their bank or postal account and by receiving essential food items worth ₹2,000. But in the last four months, neither the amount has been credited to any of the accounts nor food items have been supplied to the families.
The 11.55 lakh tribal families include four lakh families who were on MNREGA work for at least one day from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020; 2.26 lakh families of the most backward tribal communities; 64,000 families from Pardhi community; 1.65 lakh families who gained forest rights; and three lakh families, including landless labourers, widows, needy women, handicapped individuals, and orphans from the tribal community, who were to be decided by district collectors. The material worth ₹2,000 which was to be given included foodgrains, dal, salt, sugar etc.
The State issued a government resolution dated September 9 and issued detailed guidelines on September 30 spelling out the procedure to deposit the money and how material should reach every targeted family.
According to officials from the Tribal Welfare Department, when the State Cabinet cleared the decision in August, the move was to infuse some money into economy.
“While the tender process to procure material may take time, the amount could have been released before Deepavali. It would have been of tremendous help to poor tribal families before festivals,” the source said.
When contacted, State Tribal Affairs Minister K.C. Padvi initially refused to comment. Later, he said that his department was working on speedy delivery of money. He did not comment on when the process would be completed.