Terming Social Welfare Department as a means to bring the destitute, infirm, aged, under privileged and deprived people in the mainstream of society, Minister for Social Welfare, Ms Sakina Itoo Friday appealed all members of the Assembly to come with their suggestions and opinions for the improvement of the Department.
Winding up the discussion on demand of grants for the Social Welfare Department in the House, Sakina said all other development in the society makes sense only once the under privileged, under developed, orphans, widows and destitute are given due share in it. She said service to these sections is a divine duty where one is rewarded not only here but also in the life here after.
Out lining the activities of the Department, the Minister said at present five lakh aged and infirm people are given old age pension valuing Rs. 95 crore under Integrated Social Security Scheme and the centrally sponsored Indira Gandhi National Pension Scheme. She said the Department has been able to clear the pendency of cases to a large extent and appealed the members to help in identifying the beneficiaries under these schemes. She said soon she will be writing to the MLAs in this regard as she is keen to minimize the pendency of cases and bringing transparency in the system as much as possible.
Terming Integrated Child Development Scheme as an important Programme to augment the nutritional needs of children in the state, Sakina appealed members to take the scheme to every corner of their area. She said at present 28, 000 Anganwadi centres across the state are catering to the nutritional needs of the children and the Deputy Commissioners have been authorized to supervise procurement and ensure the quality of items in their respective areas. She said to bring in transparency in the system procurement of nutritional items would be done through e-tendering and the process has already picked up in Srinagar and Jammu.
Sakina said Rehabilitation Council has been established to reach out to the unfortunate victims of violence in the state. She said the number of cases covered by the council has been almost doubled and the amount paid to each victim has been increased to Rs. 20, 000, “We as a society need to do much more for these unfortunates,” she said.
The Minister said the earlier defunct Backward Classes Commission has been strengthened during the last four years.
“Not only has a Chairman been appointed but also four members have been posted to the Commission making it functional,” she said and hoped that the Commission would expedite the process of inclusion of un-covered areas into the notified list.
She said this Government takes pride in the fact that a large number hostels for the students of SC, ST and Gujjar Bakerwal communities have been constructed besides providing free books, uniforms and scholarships.
“More than six lakh pre-matric scholarships were provided by the Department to the deserving students and during this financial year 6.81 lakh such scholarships were given,” she said adding the department has conducted 1600 awareness camps in the state where people were given information about the schemes and programmes run by it.
The Minister said the centrally funded National Family Benefit Scheme is under execution in the state and so far 50 per cent pendency of the cases has been overcome. But she said since the registration of the cases is a continuous process, pendency would continue to remain though she would try hard to minimize it.
Earlier, the Minister moved that a sum of Rs. 477.96 crore be granted to the Government to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2014.