Concerned over absence of a mechanism to monitor funds released for the welfare of tribals in Maharashtra, the state government will soon set up an authority to track the outflow of such funds.
“With a budget of about Rs. 11,000 crore that we have at our disposal for welfare of tribals in our state, we release huge funds for the development of the community. The tribal welfare department provides funds to departments like health, education, PWD, etc, so that they can run development schemes in tribal areas,” Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Savra said.
“However, when I did a review of the department, I found out that there is no mechanism in place to monitor the money alloted to different departments. We don’t know how the money is spent. We have, therefore, planned to set up an authority to monitor these works,” Savra said.
They are also thinking of appointing an officer in each of the departments to which the tribal welfare ministry allots money, to keep a tab on the spending of funds, he said.
Efforts are being made to appoint IAS officers for certain underdeveloped areas in the state to take official charge of the administration there, he said.
“There are 129 locations in the state where our department runs welfare schemes for tribals. Out of these, 11 locations, including Melghat which is known for having a large number of malnourished children, have been classified as ‘sensitive’,” the minister said.
“No IAS officer is willing to work in these areas. They seek transfers soon after being appointed there. I want to change this mindset. We need officers in such areas to take care of administrative responsibilities,” Savra, a six-time legislator, said.
Several schemes of the previous government have become outdated, but Savra said he is committed to maintain the trust shown by the tribal community in BJP.
“Our priority is to discard outdated schemes floated by the previous government. We are not interested in making people dream of prosperity while they remain in poverty. Our priority is food, shelter and employment to the tribals so that the faith shown by them in BJP is not lost,” he said.
Savra was referring to a failed scheme under which tribal women were trained to become air hostesses.
“There is no need for such populist schemes. I will focus on enhancing the tribals’ lifestyle instead,” he said.