There are allegations that several politicos in the district are cashing in on schemes meant for providing self employment to SCs and STs by the Department of Commerce and Industry. The scheme which was shut down abruptly two years ago due to political interference in the selection of beneficiaries, was started again from the financial year 2016-17. Under this scheme, both women and men in the age group of 18-60 years belonging to the SC / ST category are eligible to apply. The subsidy for both women and men is 45 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. As many as 250 applications have been received by the Department of Commerce and Industry till date.
It may be mentioned here that several politicians used subsidy to purchase four-wheelers for their personal use, thereby lead to the abrupt closure of the scheme. Several elected representatives were said to have purchased vehicles by applying in the name of one of their close confidants who belong to SC / ST category. Many political leaders from Amalapuram, Razole and P Gannavaram were said to have utilised this scheme and benefitted.
When contacted regarding the fake beneficiaries, District Industries Centre general manager David Sunder Kumar said that the department cannot deny any applicant if he submits documents like Aadhaar card, caste certificate, PDS card or other documents as specified in support of their claims. He further added that the department considers the applicant eligible if the proposal is accepted by a scheduled bank and provides subsidy on producing the photograph of the beneficiary along with the vehicle purchased.