Andhra: Minority funds go unutilized

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Andhra Pradesh MinoritiesAndhra Pradesh, January 20, 2014: The minority bodies are likely to return unutilized funds to the tune of Rs 100 crores to the State government because of the new stringent guidelines.

Millions of rupees the Andhra Pradesh state allotted to help Christians and Muslims find self-employment will go unutilized this financial year as the state government has revised its guidelines on funding the project.

The state government has dealt a body blow to self-employment schemes for SCs/STs, BCs and Minorities implemented through welfare finance corporations by effecting a “comprehensive” revision of guidelines in the last quarter of the financial year.

As a result, the welfare departments are likely to utilize only a part of the massive funds allotted for self-employment schemes in the 2013-14 budget.

They may grossly miss the target of providing subsidy to the tune of Rs 1,708 crores to 6.24 lakh beneficiaries in the next 70 days before the closure of the financial year.

The Government Order issued through the social welfare department on December 31, 2013, spells out “comprehensive guidelines” for implementation of self-employment programs by all the welfare departments during 2013-14.

It has changed the subsidy pattern, eligibility criteria, norms for selection of beneficiaries and implementation and monitoring mechanism.

The eligibility criteria have been altered drastically. Beneficiaries have to be in the age-group of 21 to 40 years in case of BCs, minorities and handicapped groups and 21 to 45 years if they belong to SCs and STs. Relaxation of five years is allowed for vulnerable groups among SCs and STs as well as HIV and atrocity victims.

Beneficiaries who are availing the economic support schemes for the first time will be accorded priority. One-third of the beneficiaries will be women.

However, only one economic support scheme is to be granted per family and the beneficiaries availing financial assistance for the financial year 2013-14 will not be eligible under the scheme for the next five years.

The targeted beneficiaries are to be sub-divided for the districts and mandals/municipalities in proportion to the population of the particular category by the concerned welfare corporation. In view of the short time available during the year, the selection of beneficiaries will be done at the mandal level by a screening-cum-selection committee.

The new guidelines have come as a bolt from the blue for thousands of applicants who have registered online during the first nine months of the financial year (April to December 2013). Now, those below 21 years of age or those above 40 or 45 years of age have been rendered ineligible overnight. Applicants have been asked to register afresh based on the new eligibility criteria.

For instance, the AP State Minorities Finance Corporation, which has been given an annual target to assist 33,334 beneficiaries by providing subsidy assistance amounting to Rs 100 crores during 2013-14, had received 41,226 applications till December 17, 2013.

Only 11,897 applications were sanctioned with subsidy quantum of Rs 32.90 crores. Out of this, 1,942 applications were actually grounded and subsidy amount of Rs 4.71 crores was disbursed.

AP State Christian Finance Corporation set a target to assist 4,592 beneficiaries with subsidy of Rs 18.50 crores. However, only 391 applications were grounded and subsidy of Rs 1.14 crores was disbursed.

Both the corporations together are likely to return unutilized funds to the tune of Rs 100 crores during the year to the State government because of the new stringent guidelines.

– times of India

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