The Maharashtra government has long been carrying out work under its numerous poverty alleviation schemes,but with little result,feel some experts.
Dr Kailas Thaware,who is associated with the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics,has taken upon himself to measure how much impact these schemes had on the rural population of the state. Prof Thaware is doing a survey of the state as part of his UGC-sponsored project,under the title Impact of Development Schemes on the Underdeveloped Sections of the Society in Maharashtra to understand how far these government schemes have helped the rural population in reality.
I was associated with various poverty assessment projects and studies. Thats when I realized that there is no scarcity of schemes in the state and hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent in these projects. There are even area-specific and social category-specific schemes in the state. Yet poverty remains the same without any improvement, said Professor Thaware.
The problems actually arise in the implementation and follow-up stages of the scheme. First,there is hardly any effective mechanism to check whether or not these schemes reach the beneficiaries. Secondly,even if they do,there is no follow-up carried out on how the beneficiary is doing in the consecutive years, added Thaware.
Thaware,who started the study in July last year,is surveying at least 15 districts in the state and will be calculating 700 samples to study the impact of income generation schemes of the state on the SC/ST population of the underdeveloped pockets of the state.
The questionnaire,prepared by Thaware,includes questions like the social,financial and educational background of the person,total income generation of the entire family and whether bribe was given to get the benefits at any stage,and if bribe was given then how much and at what all level along with the time delay in getting the benefits.
As usual,the biggest problem everywhere is corruption. Bribes are taken even at the smallest level. For example,if there is a scheme through which a farmer can get five goats,he will get it only after he gives the cost of one goat as bribe to a local government official.
Then comes the follow-up stage. Even if the farmer has four goats,within a year he can breed them to multiply and within two years,he will have a good number of goats and a supplementary income to his farming. But this hardly ever happens. As soon as the farmers get the animals,they sell them owing to various reasons like death,marriages etc. So the multiplier effect doesnt take place,defeating the whole purpose of the scheme, Thaware said,while adding that he will submit the complete report by July 2014 to UGC and the state government.