Tamil Nadu welfare scheme fails to meet objectives
Four other schemes were also being implemented by the State social welfare department for the marriage of daughters of widows and orphan girls, as well as widow remarriage and inter-caste marriage.
Published: 27th October 2022 08:35 AM | Last Updated: 27th October 2022 02:23 PM | A+A A-
EVEN as direct transfer of Rs 1,000 to bank accounts of girl students pursuing higher education under the modified Puthumai Penn scheme commenced across Tamil Nadu, about 30,000 beneficiaries, who had filed applications under the four marriage assistance schemes over the last three years, are still waiting for the eight-gram free gold and cash aid of Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 for the past three years. This includes 6,000 applications filed by inter-caste couples, official sources said.
Under the Puthumai Penn scheme, which is also known as Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Higher Education Assurance scheme, girl students who studied from Class V to Class XII in government schools will get Rs 1,000 assistance per month till they complete their graduation or diploma.
The government allotted Rs 698 crore for the scheme this year for the benefit of over six lakh students. The direct cash transfer started within a few months of the launch of the scheme.
After the DMK government assumed office last year, the marriage assistance scheme named after social activist Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar was converted into the higher education assurance scheme. Under the marriage assistance scheme, beneficiaries were given eight-gram gold and `50,000 cash (for graduates and diploma holders) and Rs 25,000 for others.
Four other schemes were also being implemented by the State social welfare department for the marriage of daughters of widows and orphan girls, as well as widow remarriage and inter-caste marriage. Under these schemes too, beneficiaries were provided eight-gram gold and cash assistance of Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000. Official sources said the ‘Thalikku Thangam’ scheme received adverse remarks from the Comptroller of Auditor General of India (CAG) as the number of beneficiaries plummeted from 1.1 lakh in 2017 -2018 to 80,000 in 2020-21 owing to a spurt in the gold price.
Shambu Kallolikar, Secretary of, Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, told The New Indian Express that Rs 65 crore was allotted for the four marriage assistance schemes. “There were no issues in procuring gold. All the applicants will get benefits after completion of due process,” said Kallolikar.
However, people who submitted applications in 2019 and 2020 under these schemes are worried about the possibility of getting the benefit.
“I got married in 2018 and applied within six months. Social welfare department officials visited our house twice for verification. We have not received any update on our application so far,” an inter-caste couple
from Vellore said. “We are not sure if these four marriage assistance schemes are still active or withdrawn,” said another applicant from Thiruvalam.