The Union government has sanctioned Rs.22.5 crore to Tamil Nadu for implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY – Prime Minister's Model Village Scheme) in 225 villages of Tiruvarur and Cuddalore districts.

A sum of Rs.10 lakh for each village has been approved. The communication was received by the State government a few days ago, according to a senior official.

A baseline survey, instituted by the State government, is under way in the villages. Tiruvarur accounts for 157 villages and Cuddalore, 68.

Tamil Nadu is one of the five States where the scheme is being implemented on a pilot basis. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam and Bihar are the others.

Villages have been chosen where Scheduled Castes form more than 50 per cent of the total population.

The scheme is aimed at ensuring integrated development of the selected villages so that they have all requisite physical and social infrastructure for socio-economic development.

Among other objectives is elimination of disparity between SCs and other communities in terms of common socio-economic indicators such as literacy rate, completion rate of elementary education, infant mortality rate/maternal mortality rate and ownership of productive assets.

Two committees — an advisory committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister and a steering committee headed by the Chief Secretary — have been formed to ensure the implementation, the official adds.

Also, the State government has issued an order sanctioning Rs.172 crore for the economic development of SCs. The total number of beneficiaries will be 1,23,400. Last year, the government released Rs.140 crore.

Prizes for writers

On Monday, Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare Tamilarasi handed over prizes to writers belonging to SC/Scheduled Tribes. While 11 writers received Rs.1.1 lakh towards the first instalment of their prize money, 11 others got another Rs.1.1 lakh towards the second instalment. Each writer is given a total of Rs.20,000.

Vishwanath Shegaonkar, Principal Secretary (Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare), was present.

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