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Cash-starved government to prune social schemes

Cash-starved government to prune social schemes
Highlights

As part of austerity measures, the Telangana government is mulling to cut down on allocations to various welfare and developmental programmes including the flagship schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Kalyana Lakshmi, Rs 1 per KG rice distribution scheme, etc.

Hyderabad: As part of austerity measures, the Telangana government is mulling to cut down on allocations to various welfare and developmental programmes including the flagship schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Kalyana Lakshmi, Rs 1 per KG rice distribution scheme, etc.

The government proposes to introduce new guidelines to check the uncontrolled increase of estimations for works taken up by several departments.

It is learnt that the government proposes to save at least Rs 5,000 crore by introducing strict financial discipline in the next six months of this financial year (FA 2019-20) for which the budget proposals will be introduced in the Assembly in September this year.

Official sources said the Agriculture department has already forwarded a proposal to the government to extend the benefits of Rythu Bandhu scheme only to the farmers who have land holdings under 10 acres.

Currently, all the farmers, irrespective of the extent of lands they own, have been availing Rs 5,000 per acre as crop incentive during both the agricultural seasons.

This has resulted in the government spending Rs 15,000 crore per annum to provide the benefit to 55 lakh farmers every year.

In view of the recession, the government feels it would be difficult to bear this burden. The only option before the government is to reduce the number of beneficiaries.

Officials said if the number of beneficiaries was reduced, the burden would be lesser by Rs 2,000 crore per farming season. The issue is pending final nod from Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

Excess expenditure being spent on Kalyana Lakshmi and Shaadi Mubarak meant for poor brides is also giving jitters to the government. The allocation of funds for the scheme being implemented by all BC, SC, ST and Minority departments is increasing astronomically every year.

At present, all the applicants who submit forms are considered and extended the benefits. But now the proposal is that the officials will hold house to house verification of the applicants and select the beneficiaries based on their financial status.

In the wake of reports that the Rs 1 per kg rice scheme is being misused by the fair price shops by preparing fake beneficiaries list, the Civil Supplies department has taken up verification of genuine white ration card holders.

The Chief Minister is also reviewing the increase of estimations for every work taken up by different departments mainly Panchayat Raj, Roads and Buildings, Municipal Administration and Education departments.

The officials said the estimations have gone up by at least 30 per cent in the last five years. "This has to be controlled to keep the financial status of the state healthy," the officials said.

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