Payment of Amma Vodi benefits ahead of Sankranti opposed

‘Beneficiaries may spend the amount on purposes other than payment of school fee’

Several opposition parties and the representatives private school managements have opposed the government’s move of launching the second phase of the ‘Amma Vodi’ scheme on January 11 (Monday), alleging that releasing the benefits ahead of the Sankranti would make the beneficiaries spend the amount on the purposes other than paying the school fee.

The scheme has been launched as a part of the government’s flagship programme ‘Navartnalu’ to provide financial assistance to each mother belonging to the BPL category to help send her children to government, private, residential schools and junior colleges (from Class I to XII).

As part of the scheme, a sum of ₹14,000 is scheduled to be disbursed to 44,00,891 beneficiaries each in the State on January 11 and another ₹1,000 will be deposited in the toilet maintenance fund.

Unfortunately, those who took exception to the timing of the launch, said many beneficiaries might not spend the amount as intended in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.

“As the benefits are all set to be disbursed ahead of the Sankranti, many mothers are likely to spend the amount on the festival instead of paying the school and college fees,” said a representative of a private school.

Many parents had stopped paying school and college fees during the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year, and dues are yet to be cleared, said many private educational institutions.

Direct fee payment

“The government is insisting the school managements not to put pressure on the parents for payment of fees . How will we pay salaries to our staff? The government should link the Amma Vodi benefits with the direct payment of fees so that the parents would not have any financial burden and the school managements could also run the institutions smoothly,” opined the principal of a private school.

CPI Vizianagaram district joint secretary Bugata Ashok and Aam Admi Party district convener K. Dayanand objected the disbursement of Amma Vodi benefits ahead of the Sankranti festival.

“The government should disburse the amount in June or July, when the academic year begins. It will be beneficial for parents and the schools too. Otherwise, many private school managements will be forced to close their premises, rendering thousands of teachers and staff jobless,” pointed out Mr. Ashok.

‘Vote bank politics’

Mr. Dayanad objected the payment of Amma Vodi benefits to the parents whose children are studying in government schools. “The government provides education free of cost, besides many other benefits under the Jagananna Vidya Kanuka. What is the necessity for extending the Amma Vodi benefits to them? It is a move to consolidate vote bank under the guise of improvement of education system,” he opined.

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