Uncertainty looms large over the implementation of social welfare schemes of the city Corporation at the end of the 2013-14 financial year owing to restrictions imposed by the State government, Mayor K. Chandrika has said.
At a press conference here on Friday, Ms. Chandrika said one of the schemes related to distribution of pension to widows. The District Collector had sent a letter a week ago saying that the allocation of Rs.7.14 crore for the widows’ pension scheme had arrived, but when the Corporation officials submitted the bill to the treasury, they were told that to withdraw funds exceeding Rs.3 crore, special government sanction was necessary.
The Mayor said she had brought to the notice of the Finance Department that it was unfair to further delay the disbursement of funds for this section. She had also asked for funds up to March 31 to be allotted, and not just till December 2013, to all the beneficiaries.
She expressed her reservations about the manner in which funds for the welfare pensions were handled this year. In the past seven years, the allocation was made in four instalments, but this year only three instalments were made, she said.
The Union government’s Rajiv Awas Yojana ‘slum-free India’ project in the city was also on hold, she said. “It was after overcoming several obstacles that we finally managed to inaugurate the pilot project in the Harbour ward a few months ago,” Ms. Chandrika said.
To implement the project, which is aimed at providing housing for 1,200 families, the civic body needs to remit Rs.7.22 crore from its Plan Fund, and for this, government approval is necessary. The Mayor said she had asked for approval in a letter to the Local Self-government Department Secretary a few weeks ago, but was yet to receive it.
Another pending sanction involves the transfer of unspent funds. Ms. Chandrika said that if the sanction was received, the Corporation would be able to use the funds that it was not able to spend for development projects in the past year for land acquisition. Thus, the shortage of land for projects could be overcome by buying land using this money.