AP: Funds of around Rs 700 cr for various direct money transfer programs have fallen into the wrong hands

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A huge sum of Rs 700 crore could have fallen into the wrong hands so far this year under the various direct money transfer programs implemented by the government of Andhra Pradesh, a summary audit of the ministry has established. finances.

Government YS Jagan Mohan Reddy claimed he distributed more than Rs 1 crore under various free programs between June 2019 and June 2021.

When the state’s finance minister, Buggana Rajendranath, recently conducted a review of the cash flow situation with senior officials in his department, it was decided to revalidate the data of all beneficiaries under different regimes. to stop leaks.

An audit test of some large programs then revealed the gaping data gaps of beneficiaries and indicated that “huge sums of money” had fallen into bad accounts, authorized finance ministry sources said.

“We are just getting started, but the basic results themselves are surprising. We now suspect that over Rs 3,000 crore may have gone to dubious people in the past two years,” the sources said. to PTI on condition of anonymity.

Among the annual programs that involve a large sum of money for hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries are Amma Vodi (Rs 15,000 for each mother), Prime Minister Kisan Rythu Bharosa (Rs 13,500 for each farmer), Cheyuta (Rs 18,750 for each BC, ST, SC and minority woman over 45), Vahana Mitra (Rs 10,000 for each taxi / car driver) and Matsyakara Bharosa (Rs 10,000 for each fisher).

On June 22, the Chief Minister clicked a computer button to transfer Rs 18,750 each to 23,417,827 beneficiaries under the Cheyuta program.

But subsequently, payment in the amount of Rs 168.17 crore was suspended for 89,694 women as the government sought to verify the authenticity of the recipients, finance ministry sources said.

On May 18, Jagan pressed the computer button to credit an amount of Rs 119.88 crore to the bank accounts of 1,875 fishermen under Matsyakara Bharosa.

But later, the allocation in the amount of Rs 21.73 crore was stopped for 21,736 beneficiaries received, as officials sensed “something fishy” about their veracity.

The parched district of Anantapuramu has a total of 5 76,972 beneficiaries under the PM Kisan program, for which Rs 205.43 crore was distributed in 2020-21.

A physical check of just 28,622 farmers in the district found that 235 of them were not eligible to receive benefits under Prime Minister Kisan.

“In this case, the amount is only Rs 31.72 lakh, but it could be rupee crores if a full verification of all beneficiaries is done. In the 13 districts, tens of rupee crores may in fact have fallen into the wrong hands so far. ”Finance ministry sources pointed out.

The government borrowed huge sums from the open market to keep free programs running month after month, but the beneficiary identification process left a lot to be desired, officials say.

Amma Vodi (meaning mother’s knees), which aims to encourage mothers to send their children to school, is a major project whose veracity has hardly been verified until now.

“The program was launched in January 2020, but after that schools barely operated for two months due to the coronavirus outbreak. So there has been no way to validate whether the targeted children have been enrolled in schools, which is mandatory under the program, ”said a senior official.

As online courses are the order of the day, student attendance is not really taken into account either.

“We have received many complaints about questionable beneficiaries under Amma Vodi. There are cases where the students are residents of the neighboring state but get the free benefit here,” the official said.

As Amma Vodi’s next money transfer is not due until January 2022, the government has decided to conduct a thorough audit to weed out bogus applicants, the official added.

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