Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale addressing a press conference in Guwahati

A review meeting of central government flagship programmes of Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry for Assam turned into an apparent farce with officials reportedly failing to provide data to the Union minister on key programmes such as Ujjwala Yojana and Mudra Yojana.

The meeting, attended by top state government officials, including additional chief secretary rank officers, reviewed the performance of the state in key flagship programmes in about 20 minutes time, on July 6.

Addressing a press conference after the review, Union MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said that Rs 4,187 crore has been given by banks in the state last year under Mudra Yojana.

When asked about the number of beneficiaries, the minister was unable to give any figure and claimed that the officials at the review meeting had failed to provide him the numbers, though he had also asked for it.

“I had asked the officials for the number of beneficiaries as I knew the media will want it. But the officials were unable to provide it,” he said.

Similarly, the minister informed that 10.88 lakh LPG connections were provided under Ujjwala Yojana in 2018-19 and 10.65 lakh in 2017-18, but he could not give the details of the targets set or achieved during these periods.

Athawale further informed that 1,48,71,000 jan dhan accounts have been opened in the state, but figures on what was the target and whether it has been achieved were not provided.

In case of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he informed that against the target of 8.50 lakh houses by 2022, five lakh houses have already been provided or are under different levels of approval.

The minister claimed that monthly pension of Rs 1,000 to 1.39 lakh Divyangs of the state is being paid by the Centre.

When pointed out that Divyangs of the state have alleged that they have not received the money for past several months, Athawale maintained that the money was being sent from his ministry’s end.

Athawale, who was flanked by his party (Republican Party of India) leaders at the press conference, further said a delegation of Bodo community had met him earlier on July 6, demanding inclusion of their areas under the Bodoland Autonomous Council.

A delegation of Sikh community also met the minister, seeking his help in removing the word ‘bhangi’ from the list of Scheduled Tribes in the state.

Athawale assured both the delegations of looking into their demands.

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