Goa govt designs financial package for tribals



Panaji: Goa government is working on a package for poor tribals living in state's lesser developed areas in order to provide them financial help to tackle problems like crumbling houses and low fertility rate.

State Tribal Welfare Minister Ramesh Tawadkar said the situation of several hundred tribals, living in the forest areas of state's lesser developed talukas, was poor.

"The children are not able to complete their education because their dwellings are crumbling. They have no facilities to sit and study," Tawadkar, a tribal rights campaigner himself, said.

The state government is working on a scheme to give a one-time grant of Rs two lakh for the tribals, who have an annual income of less than three lakh, to repair their houses, he said, adding that a monitoring committee would be constituted to oversee the repair works.

"Money would be paid in installments so as to ensure that it is not being misused and the amount would be released as and when work is completed, Tawadkar said.

State Cabinet is expected to decide on this scheme along with half a dozen similar initiatives by tribal welfare department, next week.

Tawadkar said ample amount of brainstorming has gone into designing these schemes, which are tailor-made to ease the financial bankruptcy faced by several families.

In another scheme, government has also proposed to pay a grant of Rs 50,000 per family for construction of toilet, so that they are not forced to attend nature's call in open.

The state government will constitute a special team which will visit all the tribal villages and submit a roadmap, giving detailed requirements, he said.

"For the first year, target is to provide these schemes to 5,000 households, which are in dire need," the minister said.

Considering the low birth rate amongst the tribals, the state government has also designed a scheme for fertility treatment, under which Rs one lakh would be provided to couples to take care of their medical expenses.

Goa government-run hospitals do not offer fertility treatment. Many couples are childless as they do not have enough money to get treated in a private clinic, he said.

With the scheme, the couples could seek treatment at private hospitals. Government has also drafted a scheme for providing Rs 25 lakh each for tribal villages to construct a community hall.

PTI