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More Sugar, Less Food

1 hectare. Table 1 shows the details of assets given to the beneficiaries, amount sanctioned, the actual value of the asset delivered, cases where the assets were intact, etc It is seen that six beneficiaries were provided with loudspeakers of which only two were intact and which generated annually, on an average, an income of Rs 1,400 to each beneficiary. Another set was partially defective and generated an annual income of about Rs 500 while three had gone out of use. The complaint was that the loudspeakers were of inferior quality. While Rs 5,000 was sanctioned to each beneficiary the assets that they got did not cost more than Rs 4,000 as per their estimate. This was a common feature and in all the cases the beneficiaries reported that the assets were worth only about 75 per cent of the amount sanction- ed. This is the main source of corruption as there is a stipulation that beneficiaries can purchase the asset from a specified shop only. As the shopkeepers who are ultimately chosen also have to grease the palm and have to share a cut with the functionaries they supply inferior products and the beneficiary has no alternative but to accept them. There has been a persistent demand that the beneficiary should be free to purchase the article from any shop but this has not been conceded for reasons best known to the government. Goats were provided to 13 persons. Four of them preferred to take cash from the dealers. Two of them had to repay old debts and the other two utilised the amount in meeting household needs. Of the nine who had actually taken goats only three were found to still possess some goats. The others reported that either the goats had died or were sold to meet cash requirements. These generally happened to be poorer among the beneficiaries and in such cases the imperative to sell the asset to get cash was irresistible. Eight beneficiaries were provided with bullocks and all such beneficiaries reported an additional income in the range of Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,700 per annum. Some of these beneficiaries could lease in land because they had bullocks to cultivate the fields. Four beneficiaries were assisted to start stone ballast making used in road construction. Two of them were earning between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 while the remaining two gave up the work as they were running on loss. One beneficiary was given a musical instrument and during the marriage season he could earn about Rs 1,000. There were three other cases who were given a buffalo, a dothshop and a rickshaw. The buffalo died, the cloth- shop could not be run for long and the rickshaw was also lying idle in a dilapidated condition and required heavy repairs which the beneficiary was not in a position to incur.

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