Underscoring the need for proper implementation of social welfare schemes, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday said that it must be ensured that their benefits percolate down to the deserving population. “There is a need for generating greater awareness among the masses about the schemes and facilitating them to join these, so that the benefits reach the intended sections of the society”, she said.
The Chief Minister said this while chairing a meeting to review the functioning of the Social Welfare Department here at the Civil Secretariat.
Present in the meeting were Minister for Social Welfare, ARI & Trainings and Science & Technology, Sajad Gani Lone, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Development Social Welfare, Health & Medical Education, Asiea Naqash, Financial Commissioner Planning and Principal Secretary to CM, B B Vyas and Secretary, Social Welfare, Sajad Ahmad Khan.
The Chief Minister appreciated the endeavour to reposition the department of Social Welfare from the concept of charity to empowerment, dignity and Social Justice in the context of delivering services, inculcating trust and to confer rights/ entitlements to vulnerable sections of the society.
During the meeting, the Social Welfare Minister presented an overview of various welfare schemes and scholarship programmes being offered by the department. It was informed that under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) which a Centrally Sponsored Scheme targeting old age, widows, disabled and BPL Families by way of monthly pension and economic assistance there are around 150448 beneficiaries, while as the Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) which is a State Sponsored Scheme has around 42250 beneficiaries.
The Chief Minister also sought status regarding outreach of various scholarship schemes to the people like post, pre matric scholarship schemes and the scholarship being offered by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs to the students belonging to National Minority Communities.
While reviewing State schemes like Laadli Beti and Aasra, the Chief Minister asked the Social Welfare Department to ensure adequate penetration of the scheme so that positive disposition about the girl child is created across the state.
On the progress of the AASRA scheme, the Chief Minister was informed that around one lakh people have been covered under the scheme till date in Kashmir province. The Chief Minister asked the concerned for further bringing down the time frame in processing the cases under the scheme for timely benefit to the people. She called for taking more steps towards ensuring maximum publicity and awareness about such schemes through skits and print & electronic media.
Various women empowerment schemes including State Marriage Assistance Scheme with budget allocation of Rs 7.5 crore and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao with budget allocation of Rs 9.75 crore were also reviewed in the meeting. The Chief Minister was also apprised that the One Stop Centre and Women Helpline under the Central scheme ‘Sakhi’ are being set up in the State. Similarly, 28 Family Counselling Centres are presently being run by J&K State Social Welfare Board.
The Social Welfare Minister also highlighted the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). He said that the scheme is based on cardinal principle of protection of child rights and best interest of the child. He added that the ICPS objectives are to contribute to the improvements in the well being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as to the reduction of vulnerabilities to situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children.
While reviewing the skill development and entrepreneurship initiatives of the department, the Chief Minister stressed on encouraging utilisation of the products manufactured by women under various schemes like the ones being offered by Women’s Development Corporation, to enhance women empowerment.
It was also given out that decentralization of Social delivery system by way of establishment of Social Welfare Empowerment Councils for identification and certification of eligible beneficiaries is also being considered. Moreover, upgradation and restructuring of existing Bal Ashrams, Narineketans and orphanages as boarding schools and skill development centres is also under active consideration of the Government.