Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday launched the 'YSR Vahana Mitra' welfare scheme in Eluru town of West Godavari district. The scheme provides an annual cash incentive of Rs 10,000 to drivers of autos, taxis and maxi-cabs, who also own their vehicles.
The amount is meant to meet maintenance expenses, and for obtaining insurance and fitness certificates among other documents. The scheme was a promise made by Jagan during his padayatra before the election in the same town.
Addressing the gathering, Jagan said, “With the daily earnings of Rs 200 to Rs 500, you people have told me that it was becoming difficult to run the family and meet other vehicle expenses. The YSR Vahana Mitra scheme will provide Rs 50,000 to self-employed drivers in the next five years.”
The initiation process of transferring the incentives to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts was displayed to the gathering on a screen.
The state government has also announced that the applications for the scheme would be extended till the end of the month, for those who could not apply on time, while those who have newly obtained vehicles can avail the scheme in November.
While the transport department had earlier estimated the number of applicants to be above 4 lakh, the applications received turned out to be fewer. Joint Transport Commissioner LSM Ramasree said that the estimation was miscalculated as there was no way of comparing data from vehicle registration and driving licenses to cross-check for owner-cum drivers. “We even relaxed the rules, allowing for those whose vehicles have been registered in another family member’s name, like their mother of wife, to apply,” she said.
Out of 1,75,352 applications received for the Vahana Mitra scheme, 1,73,102 drivers had qualified as beneficiaries. Of these beneficiaries, 79,000 belonged to BC, 40,000 to SC, above 6,000 to ST communities. 17,500 of the beneficiaries were from minority groups, while 20,000 were Kapus, 397 Brahmins and 9,995 were from EBC (Economically Backward Class).
Other welfare schemes like Kanti Velugu, an eye-screening scheme to be launched on October 10, and Rythu Bharosa (farmer welfare scheme) are also set to begin soon.