Rs 2,000 cut in dole to mothers under ‘Ammavodi’ scheme in AP

Reddy, during the election campaign in 2019, promised to pay Rs 15,000 to each mother for sending their children (Classes 1-12) to school.

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy will launch the third round of the flagship ‘Ammavodi’ (mother’s lap) scheme in Srikakulam on Monday but this time the mothers (beneficiaries) will get only Rs 13,000 each, a cut of Rs 2,000, as against the promised Rs 15,000.

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The total number of eligible beneficiaries across the state also fell by 52,463 to 43,96,402 in 2022-23, compared to 44,48,865 in 2020-21.

The scheme, aimed at “ensuring poverty of the parents does not come in the way of educating their children”, was not implemented in 2021-22 due to COVID-19.

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Reddy, during the election campaign in 2019, promised to pay Rs 15,000 to each mother for sending their children (Classes 1-12) to school.

In 2019-20, the promised Rs 15,000 was paid to 42,33,098 mothers, with a total expenditure of Rs 6,349.64 crore.

In 2020-21, the government deducted Rs 1,000 from each beneficiary for Toilet Maintenance Fund (TMF) and credited only Rs 6,228.41 crore into 44,48,865 mothers’ accounts. The government retained Rs 444.88 crore towards TMF.

This year, an additional Rs 1,000 is being deducted for School Maintenance Fund (SMF) and only Rs 13,000 will be paid to the mothers.

Accordingly, the mothers will get a sum of Rs 5,715.32 crore only, while the state government will retain Rs 879.28 crore towards TMF and SMF.

One of the main conditions for drawing the welfare amount under Ammavodi is 75 percent attendance of the ward.

A study by the School Education Department established that as many as 51,212 students recorded “zero per cent” attendance though the mothers were paid Rs 14,000 each the previous year. These mothers have now been removed from the scheme.

The department also carried out a ‘six-step validation’ process and weeded out 1,66,353 beneficiaries as ineligible for the freebie.

“In all, 2,17,565 mothers became ineligible for the dole for a variety of reasons. Another 3,83,224 mothers, eligible the previous year, were ‘not present in 2022’. At the same time, 5,48,329 new mothers, whose children joined Class 1 this year, were added into the scheme,” department sources said.

Thus, there is a net reduction of 52,463 beneficiaries in Ammavodi, saving Rs 68.20 crore to the government this year, the sources added.

A senior official of the Department told PTI that the TMF and the SMF were “the mothers’ contribution” to the institutions and released to the respective school development committees that comprise the parents as well.

“We have taken up school infrastructure development on a massive scale under the Mana Badi: Naadu-Nedu (our school, then and now) programme. It is our responsibility to maintain these assets properly for extending their life and ensuring upkeep of the schools,” the official noted.

Timely repairs, wherever required, would be taken up utilising the SMF amount, the official said.

“TMF is a unique concept and first-of-its-kind in the country. The main objective is to ensure health of all students and prevent dropping out of girl students by maintaining clean toilets,” the official added.

Schools across the state have engaged 48,139 ayahs for toilet maintenance and each person is paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 6,000.

The school toilet maintenance is constantly monitored through a mobile application using artificial intelligence. “This has indeed yielded very good results. With the SMF, we hope to achieve the same results,” the official said.

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