Mumbai, Aug 13 (PTI) Less than a third of applications received under the Maharashtra government’s scheme to provide milch animals to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were sanctioned in five years.

Of the 8,455 valid applicants, only 2,372 (28 per cent) received a cow or buffalo under the scheme, said the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), tabled in the state legislature last week.

In many cases, applications could not be sanctioned for lack of funds, the CAG said in its report for 2015-16.

It also highlighted delay in distribution of animals and purchase of aged animals.

The Animal Husbandry Department had introduced the scheme in November 2011.

“Demands for funds were placed without considering the actual number of applications received,” said the report.

“In Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts, tribals were kept out of the ambit of the scheme as the district authorities failed to demand funds,” it said.

Despite a guideline that desirable age of cows to be distributed is three-and-half years to four-and-half years, nearly half of the cows purchased (43 per cent) were between five and seven years old, with “declining lactating ability”, the CAG said.

The government should evaluate implementation and monitoring of the scheme, the report said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.