<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to speed up the development of tribal areas in the state, the Maharashtra government on Monday decided to transfer tribal development funds directly into the bank accounts of gram panchayats.With the move, Maharashtra becomes the first state in India to take such a decision. The aim is to bring down red-taping and reduce corruption.According to the state’s tribal development department, 9% of the total fund of Rs 5,000 crore is reserved for tribal welfare and development of tribal-dominated areas.“Most times, the funds did not reach the people. The files have gathered dust in Mantralaya. Hence from May 1, 2018, we will start transferring funds directly into the gram panchayat’s bank account,” an official said.As per government schemes, only 1.5 lakh tribals benefit from various government schemes.“Only middlemen and contractors are benefitting from the tribal funds. We had decided to plug loopholes in system. And, as a part of reform, transferring fund directly to bank accounts is the best solution,” said another official requested anonymity.As per this decision, if village population is 100% tribal, this particular village panchayat will get Rs 10 lakh of fund directly into its bank account. “The panchayat can utilise this fund as per its needs and demands. They do not need to run from pillar to post to obtain various permission to get fund. This is a revolutionary step. We are sure it will benefit as many as tribal and after one year review will be done,” said the official.