THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s tall claims on Vimukthi Mission — the anti-narcotics programme of the excise department — have fallen flat with the mission’s action plan for the next year revealing that 76% of the funds will be spent on staff salary. The allocation has left limited scope for the mission’s outreach programmes
A close reading of the Vimukthi Mission’s action plan for 2022-23 reveals that even school-based intervention programmes have been trimmed to facilitate seamless salary payment.
The action plan for the new fiscal submitted by the excise commissioner was approved by the government last Friday. It lists expenses under 10 heads costing Rs 9.9 crore. Of this, Rs 4.75 crore is to be spent on the salary of temporary staffers working at the de-addiction centres and regional counselling centres.
The 14 de-addiction centres have given outpatient treatment to 66,867 people and in-patient treatment to 5,681 people until March 2022. A sum of Rs 2.30 crore has been earmarked for the salary, leave surrender and TA expenses of district managers of the Vimukthi Mission.
‘Unarv’ too gets a cold treatment in action plan
The district managers are, in fact, permanent staffers of the Excise Department working in the rank of assistant excise commissioner. Another `45 lakh will be spent for the salary payment of 14 district mission coordinators and three research officers. Together, the allocation for salary and benefits of staffers is Rs 7.50 crore. The action plan has meticulously divided the remaining amount for a couple of campaign and outreach programmes. Rs 25 lakh has been allocated for medicines, renovation activities and other expenses at the de-addiction centres.
School-based anti-narcotics clubs is an important programme of the mission which aims to encourage students to take up sports and desist from substance abuse. The action plan says the mission aims is to form sports teams in all the 5,000 anti-narcotics clubs. But this year only 500 clubs will benefit from the programme. The allocation is Rs 50 lakh, i.e, Rs 10,000 for each club.
Unarv, the much-touted school-based intervention programme, too gets a cold treatment in the action plan. Unarv aims to equip children to abstain from drug abuse through active engagement in sports and arts. Development of infrastructure facilities in schools for extracurricular activities is an important component of this programme. According to the action plan, project wozth Rs 5 lakh is to be implemented in one school. For this, Rs 20 lakh is required for one district.
Activities in tribal coastal/areas: Rs 25 lakh
Vimukthi magazine: Rs 1 lakh
Migrant labourer programmes: Rs 4 lakh
NSS, SPC, residents’ assn, other depts: Rs 40 lakh
Media publicity: Rs 35 lakh
Administration expenses: Rs 10 lakh