Widespread illiteracy in the rural areas of Kulithalai taluk of Karur district has allowed touts to manipulate the disbursal of government welfare measures for the beneficiaries. Brokers reign supreme as the office of the Social Security Scheme struggles with manpower shortage to meet the burgeoning demands from the public.
The literate in the Kulithalai region also face difficulties but with some running around are able to submit their petitions with required supporting documents such as income certificate, community certificate, address, and identity proofs.
But the illiterate rural poor are dependent on the petition writers outside the Taluk Office here or outsiders who act as touts or even small time political brokers who “facilitate” preparation and submission of petitions for the various government welfare schemes such as regarding birth and death certificates, marriage assistance, educational assistance for members of the farmers social security schemes.
Insiders say the main target of the touts are the rural people approaching the taluk office officials for social security schemes. Since the government offices are short staffed and the officials are too busy to spare a thought for the poor people, they fall easy prey to brokers who promise them that everything would be done speedily. Remarkably touts and brokers are able to get things done for their clients within a reasonable timeframe. Sources say the touts are based on geographical locations meaning blocks or revenue sub-divisions have been assigned to each of them.
The fact that Kadavur taluk does not have a separate team of officials for the Social Security Scheme implementation has become an advantage for the touts in Kulithalai. All applicants in the Kulithalai and Kadavur taluks have to get things done in Kulithalai adding to delay. Although the benefits are disbursed only through cheque, there have been regular allegations of middlemen having a role in the disbursal.