The union cabinet on Thursday approved a revised time frame for rehabilitating the manual scavengers left out of the ongoing scheme.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said here that the cabinet reviewed the implementation of the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) - originally intended to cover all beneficiaries by March 31, 2009 - and approved revised time-frame for coverage of "remaining beneficiaries" by March 31, 2010.
She said that after introduction of the scheme, 18 states and union territories had reported that there were 1.17 lakh beneficiaries but the revised figures put the number of beneficiaries at 82,865 on Dec 31, 2009.
Citing reports from states, she said 69,177 of 82,865 beneficiaries have been provided loans for alternative occupations by December last year.
The minister said Rs.231 crore has been released by the government so far for implementation of the central scheme and the amount will be sufficient to cover the remaining beneficiaries also.
"The cabinet also permitted the ministry to cover the beneficiaries, if any, even after March 31, to the minimum extent necessary, in view of inadequate progress in some states," she said.
The SRMs, approved in 2006 for implementation as a national priority, provides for rehabilitation of existing manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations in a time-bound manner by providing training, loans and capital subsidy for self-employment.