The state government has decided to transfer tribal development funds directly into the bank accounts of gram panchayats from May 1, 2018 to ensure the speedy development of tribal areas. This will make Maharashtra the first state in the country to make such a move, which promises to not only get rid of red tapism but also cut down on corruption.
According to the tribal development department, around 9 per cent of the total fund in the state’s annual budget, which amounts to about Rs 5,000 crore, is reserved for the welfare and development of tribal communities. However, most of the time, this fund does not reach the citizens it is intended for, according to an official. “It often gets stuck in red tapism, with files gathering dust in the Mantralaya. Therefore, from May 1, 2018, on the eve of Maharashstra Day, we have decided to directly transfer the funds into the bank accounts of gram panchayats,” added the official.
As per the government’s records, Maharashtra’s tribal population stands at 1.5 lakh however a mere 60,000 people have benefited from various government tribal schemes so far. “We’ve had good schemes for the state’s tribal communities however most of these are rife with corruption, with middlemen and contractors enjoying the funds. We decided to plug the loopholes and the system and transferring the funds directly seemed like the best available solution,” said another official.
As per this decision, if a village’s population is 100 per cent tribal, its panchayat will receive Rs 10 lakh. “The panchayat can utilise this fund as per its requirements. They will no longer need to run from pillar to post to obtain various permissions,” said an official.
- The state’s tribal population is 1.5 lakh but only 60,000 have received benefits.
- Around 9 per cent of the state’s annual budget is reserved for tribal communities.