For this purpose, the Haryana government distributed an amount that was in excess of INR 5 crores among the municipalities. However, as is the case most often with public funds, majority of the money was misappropriated. The ones who did this used forged and fraudulent bills to get their jobs done. This was reportedly done in consultation with a number of leaders who held important positions in the state’s political scenario. What was worse that the criminals also managed to extract commission from the very people who were supposed to be benefited by the plan. From the looks of it, it seems that such rampant abuse of authority – especially in cases of such beneficial programs – has now become a distinguishing feature of Haryana, more than its industrial and technological progress, which is limited only to a few areas.
The Ambedkar Awas Yojana is not the only public benefit scheme where the middlemen have managed to cheat the state government as well as ones who were supposed to be helped by the same. There have been some other instances as well:
- Old Age Pension Scheme
- House Building Advance scheme for people from the Scheduled Castes
- Scholarship for students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
- Handicapped Pension Yojna
- Marriage advance scheme for Scheduled Caste people
- Loans and subsidies to be provided to Scheduled Caste/Backward Classes/Other Backward Classes people
While it would be very easy to criticise the people who are perpetrating such massive misuse of public funds for their own clandestine purposes, the fact remains that they do so because they know that they will be able to get away with all this. The fault in this case lies totally with the present state administration that has failed to enact the measures necessary to curb such criminal practices.
The state government in Haryana needs to improve its process of monitoring of usage of public funds provided it has one. If not, then a very strong and punitive step needs to be taken so that such tendencies can be curbed. What it may not be realising is that its unflinching adherence to age old customs of upper class and caste supremacy have no place in a modern democratic world and the chalta hai attitude is only tarnishing its image in the long run even as it tries to appease one class while running roughshod over the other.
However, one feels that just punitive measures may not be enough to stop the wrongdoers. There needs to be an award – it could be a combination of certificate or cash or other benefits – for the public body that utilises the government funds in the best way and for ones who are unable to do so, the office bearers need to be removed without the scope of further appointment in government jobs and fresh appointments need to be made.
Haryana is a state that wants to be recognised as one of the leading members of its fraternity and one way to achieve that is to improve the lot of the backward sections. The state government recognises that and is willing to take the necessary steps but somehow the execution is not there. This is where there is a need to take a drastic step or two – it could be positive or negative – in order to ensure that progress happens and in an all-inclusive way.