Govt sets slew of welfare measures rolling

Social, financial security of underprivileged main objective: Drabu

SRINAGAR: Immediately after the present Coalition Government assumed office in March this year, it announced and implemented a slew of measures to ensure social and financial security of the vulnerable, marginalised and the underprivileged sections of society.

Most of these welfare measures are targeted at the women and destitute besides the poorest of the poor in the society.

On the initiative of Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed the Government has also put in place a mechanism to compensate the uninsured flood-hit traders whose livelihood was devastated by the September 2014 deluge.

The launch of Aasra, approved by the state cabinet yesterday, is seen as a landmark initiative to provide social and financial security to the widows, the poor and the destitute in the State.

Under Aasra, the State Government would pay premium for the Prime Minister Surakhsha Bhima Yojna and Prime Minister Jeevan Jyoti Bhima Yojna in case of eligible beneficiaries including breadwinners of families whose annual income is less than Rs 75000 and all widows and destitute.

“Aasra will provide adequate and affordable social protection to the underprivileged citizens of the state and widen the financial security net for them,” said Dr Haseeb Drabu, the state’s Finance Minister.

He said in situations like natural disasters or fatal accidents, the dependents of uninsured breadwinners of poor families, widows and destitute hardly get any financial help except for modest ex-gratia from the government. “Even in cases of natural death of breadwinners of such families no financial help is available to the dependents. There are also widows and destitute having a dependent family without any financial support from the State and in case of their demise no financial safety net is available to the dependents,” he said and added that the Aasra would cover all such families and save them from any financial distress during untoward situations.

Pertinently, to deal with the abysmal child sex ratio in the State, the Government has, in its first budget, announced contribution of Rs 1000 per month on behalf of every new born girl child for next 14 years and on reaching 21 years, she would receive around Rs 6.5 lakh under the scheme. The scheme has been launched on pilot basis in six districts with the most adverse child sex ratio.

In another pioneering women welfare initiative, the State Government has

approved child care leave for them for a period of two years to look after their children.

As per the new provision, a women employee can avail a maximum period of 730 days of child care leave during her entire service for taking care of her two eldest children.

“The leave can be taken to look after the children’s education, illness and other similar requirements,” Dr Drabu said.

He said during the period of child care leave, a woman employee shall be paid leave salary equal to pay drawn immediately before proceeding on leave and the child care leave can be combined with any other kind of leave.

However, the leave shall not be granted for more than three spells in a calendar year, he said.

The Finance Minister said that on the directions of the Chief Minister, the State Government has got down to a time-bound plan of action for providing relief to the uninsured flood-affected traders and destitute, to help them revive their livelihood.

“Hundreds of shopkeepers and destitute have already been handed-over compensation under the scheme and the process is on, he said and added that under the scheme, the shopkeepers whose turnover is up to Rs 5 lakh are being provided Rs 1 lakh compensation, while as those whose turnover is less than Rs 10 lakh are given assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh by the Government. The uninsured traders whose turnover was more than Rs 10 lakh, are given cash assistance of Rs 2 lakh.

He said the Government has already paid Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each to the next of kin (NoK) of the persons who died during the September 2014 floods.

Further an amount of Rs 46.96 crore has been paid against 20,896 severely or partially damaged houses in the State, while as financial assistance to the tune of Rs  137.83 crore has been released against 18,703 completely damaged houses across the two divisions of the State.

He said post-floods, the Government also provided rent to the flood affected families. The rent was paid @ Rs 2000 per family in rural areas, @ Rs 3500 per family in municipal areas and @ Rs 5000 per family in Srinagar Municipal Corporation jurisdiction. The rent for three months has been reimbursed to the flood affected families in both the divisions.

Besides, free ration for six months and timber @ 100 cfts for fully damaged Pacca house and @ 50 Cfts for fully damaged Kacha house, was also provided to the flood affected families.

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