Maharashtra Spending More On Animals’ Upkeep Than Children, Alleges Lawmaker

MUMBAI: Maharashtra government grants more funds for the upkeep of animals in fodder camps than for children living in orphanages and state-run child homes, a BJP lawmaker has alleged.

“The state government pays Rs. 70 to a fodder camp for the keep of an animal, while the orphanages and state-run children homes are paid Rs. 30 for a child per day as grant,” Anil Bonde, who represents Morshi Assembly constituency in Amravati district has alleged.

“It is unfair for the government to pay Rs. 70 for an animal while a child gets Rs. 30 for food. The government should increase the grants for children homes to at least Rs. 1,500 per month from the current Rs. 900,” Mr Bonde told reporters in Mumbai on Monday, while adding that the grants should be provided on time.

There are about 255 fodder camps operating in drought affected Latur, Osmanabad and Beed districts since August last year and their upkeep has cost the state exchequer around Rs. 60 crore.

There are a total of 1,105 children homes in the state of which 1,062 are run by various registered NGOs.

“The government pays them Rs. 900 for normal child per month (about Rs. 30 per day) for their meals, whereas Rs. 990 (Rs. 33 per day) is given for a special child every month.”

According to an official from the state Women and Child Development Department, the NGOs housing these children have not received grants from the last three years.

“Our department has asked for Rs. 156 crore, to pay the pending dues of these children’s homes, which has not been sanctioned by the Finance department as yet,” he said.

An official from the Finance department, however, said that NGOs are expected to raise their own funds as they are registered with the Charity Commissioner.

“Since these NGOs are registered with the Charity Commissioner, they can raise funds from society. The government aid is to support them in this social cause, but they should not depend on the government grants. In fact, it is their responsibility to raise the required funds to provide facilities to children,” he said.