Begin typing your search...
Rehabilitation fund: Govt’s rehab scheme for tipplers fail to lift ‘spirits’
The economic rehabilitation of the erstwhile prohibition offenders in the State has failed to take off. According to official statistics, only around 1,600 people are rehabilitated on an average every year.
As part of its rehabilitation programme, the State government identifies the beneficiaries, who have given up their illegal profession and are economically weak. Since 2008, it has been sanctioning a maximum financial assistance of Rs 30,000) per beneficiary. The assistance is also given to tipplers, who consume illicit liquor.
The grant is to be used for procuring milch animals, goats, production of agarbhathi, camphor, preparation of instant sambrani, candles, paper cups, washing soap, soap powder and other such small trades.
The rehabilitation fund was enhanced from Rs 2.20 crore to Rs 5 crore in 2011-2012, when the assistance was sanctioned as a grant instead of loan.
A rehabilitation committee, led by the Collector, comprising Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) authorities has been constituted to distribute the grant in each district.
Going by official figures, a total of 1,651 persons were rehabilitated in 2008-09. That figure rose only marginally in the subsequent years. The beneficiary count in 2017-18 stood at a mere 1,666.
According to a senior Tasmac official, only a few hundred people have been rehabilitated in the current year.
Meanwhile, those who have received the grant alleged that Tasmac officials were not sanctioning the full amount. “I got the amount after waiting for nearly three years from the date of registration,” S Suresh Kumar (name changed), a resident of Kancheepuram.
Claiming that there is a big list of potential beneficiaries, Kumar said the government is, however, rehabilitating less than 2,000 people every year.
Tasmac sources said that the absence of a monitoring team has resulted in most of the beneficiaries returning to their old business.
While the government has ordered Tasmac, the monopoly agency authorised to sell liquor, to release Rs 3.00 crore for conducting programmes aimed at creating awareness among the public about the evils of consuming liquor across the State, its effect is yet to be felt.
Tasmac sources admitted that the awareness activities like rallies, camps, seminars, street plays, skits, elocution competition, essay competition, advertisement at public places, distribution of pamphlets, scheduled for every month, has not picked up as expected.
According to the official, all the awareness activities must be done with the help of students, self-help groups and non-governmental organisations, taking into consideration the local needs and the socio-economic factors.