Mumbai

‘Lethargic’ State govt. lost out on Rs. 2,000 cr. from Centre: finance department report

A school for VJNT students— Photo for representation  

The State government lost out on Rs. 2,154 crore in welfare funds from the Centre due to bureaucratic lethargy, a State Finance Department report has highlighted. According to the report, documents were not made ready within the application deadline of October 31.

The assistance from the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was meant to be disbursed as post-matric scholarships to poor students, and has now probably been diverted to other States. Officials said thousands of students from backward and underprivileged communities could be affected, with the brunt being borne by post-matric students of the Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) category.

The issue was first red-flagged on September 8, when the Union government wrote to the State Social Welfare Department, seeking clarifications on claims. “If our claim documents are not ready now, our State will miss yet another opportunity of receiving the amount claimed. If [we] can comply in the next three days, we may get some amount. Our apprehension is that if the social welfare department doesn’t complete formalities in next three days, the allocation will be disbursed to other states,” the note had read.

“The Union government is busy discussing revenue expenditure allocations these days. These will be finalised in a day or two, and once the ministry gets it, they will begin disbursement to states,” the State Finance department had said an internal report to the Social Welfare Department. In a bid to encourage VJNT students to take post-matric courses, the State government had introduced the Government of Maharashtra Post-Matric Scholarship to VJNT Students scheme, meant to encourage students to continue education by providing financial assistance, including maintenance allowance between Rs. 90 and Rs. 190 per month for hostellers and Rs. 150 to Rs. 425 per month for day scholars.

Surendrakumar Bagde, Secretary, Social Justice & Special Assistance Department, said he was still trying to coordinate with the Centre to obtain the funds on time.

Senior officials had even requested that a local team be dispatched to New Delhi to deal with the situation, but that did not happen. “The central government offices are open on October 31 and November 1, request you to urgently dispatch a team to sort out the matter. In fact the secretary can himself go to claim the amount,” the report reads.

However, the amount is yet to be credited to the State government’s account. The previous amount received from the Centre for this scheme was Rs. 54.52 crore on September 29. The funds (11011/19/2015-SCD-V) landed in the State government account on October 15, 2015. “After that, we have not received any entry from the Centre for post-matric scholarships,” an official said.



Funds were

for post-matric scholarships to

poor students from the VJNT category



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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:50:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/%E2%80%98Lethargic%E2%80%99-State-govt.-lost-out-on-Rs.-2000-cr.-from-Centre-finance-department-report/article16437917.ece

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