Maharashtra relaunches old scheme for tribal communities facing economic distress

Published : August 15, 2020 18:14 IST

Tribal women at work, making bamboo baskets, outside their house at Asura village in Maharashtra’s Dharampur. A file picture. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Maharashtra has relaunched the old Khawati grant scheme to bring some relief to the economically disadvantaged tribal communities in the State. The day-to-day living expenses of tribal families has been badly hit because of the coronavirus crisis but their travails have largely gone unnoticed because of their remote habitation.

The State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray approved the relaunching of the Khawati scheme which had been closed in 2013. Under the scheme each tribal family will be given groceries comprising a variety of lentils and grains, sugar, peanut oil, spices, chillies, salt and tea leaves up to an amount totalling Rs.2,000. Apart from this Rs.2,000 in cash will also be given to each family on a monthly basis.

The Cabinet approved Rs.486 crore for the implementation of the scheme. The State government will provide 100 per cent subsidy for the implementation of the scheme for a period of one year. A steering committee has been set up to oversee the workings with the Additional Chief Secretary as its chairman. At the divisional level, the Additional Commissioner, Tribal Development, will oversee the scheme.

Tribal communities earn primarily through farming their own land or working as labourers for other farmers. Farming this year has been severely affected by erratic rainfall. They also depend greatly on government jobs. The lockdown took a heavy toll on them as all government projects came to an abrupt halt.

The Khawati scheme is expected to benefit 11.55 lakh tribal families.

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