15 June :Social growth and enhancement of quality of life of the people especially of vulnerable and weaker sections of the society has been main emphasis of the present State Government to achieve the goal of growth with social justice in the State. It is due to this fact that Himachal Pradesh has emerged as one of the front runner States in the Country in providing best Social services to the people. Its performance has been widely acclaimed at national level for its path-breaking endeavours.
Soon after taking over the reins of the State in December, 2007 the present Government has taken various historic decisions such as enhancement of social security pension from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 on the very first day when the government took over and further to Rs. 330 in January, 2009. More than 2.5 lakhs eligible persons are getting its benefits, out of them 75059 are old aged persons, 64074 widow pensioners and 25796 physically challenged persons. Besides, 1482 lepers had also been covered under the scheme. This way, the total number of beneficiaries comes to 252048 who have been given social security cover. The State Government is spending Rs. 104 crores on social security pension annually. 85637 persons have been covered under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension
During the year 2008, 27757 fresh cases of social security pension had been approved to ensure that the benefits of the scheme percolated down to more eligible and left-out persons.
The Government led by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal had always been considerate for the welfare of vulnerable sections of the society. It was during the tenure of his government that the social security pension in the State was enhanced from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 during last tenure.
The Government has launched various schemes to improve the economic condition of the Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and the minorities. The financial assistance of Rs. 800 being given to skilled workers of these communities has been enhanced to Rs. 1300 from last year. The scheme is meant for those whose annual income falls below Rs. 11,000. 4614 beneficiaries have been covered under this scheme. Under Inter-caste marriage Rs. 25,000 was being given to those persons who marry the girls of Schedule Caste families. 260 such couples have been benefitted by spending Rs. 64.81 lakh under the scheme during last year.
To solve the housing problems of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes the financial assistance for construction and repair of house has been enhanced from Rs. 27500 to Rs. 38500 and Rs. 12500 to Rs. 15000 respectively from the last year. Those whose annual income is less than Rs.17000 can avail the benefit of this scheme. Financial assistance of Rs. 10000 is being provided for rehabilitation of helpless and deserted women besides providing free boarding, lodging and training facilities for taking training in cutting and embroidery trades. A sum of Rs. 45.20 lacs has been spent during the last financial year under the scheme and Rs. 52.93 lacs budgetary provision has been made for current financial year. Rs. 25000 assistance was also being given for the remarriage of widows.
The State Government has launched a scheme known as Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna under which helpless girls and women whose family income falls below Rs. 7500 annually are being given Rs. 11001 as marriage grant. During last financial year as many as 1056 eligible girls and women have been benefitted by spending Rs. 130 lac whereas Rs. 144 lac have been earmarked for the current financial year for the purpose.
During the last financial year, Rs. 107.28 lac has been spent on giving financial benefit to 13060 children under ‘Mother Teresa Asahay Matri Sambal Yojna’ in the State. A sum of Rs. 137.25 lacs has been allocated under the scheme for the current financial year.
Under this scheme the helpless and poor women, whose income is less then Rs.11000 annually, financial assistance of Rs. 1000 for each child is being given upto two children, upto the age of 14 years for their upbringing. Over 13,000 children have been benefitted under the scheme during last year.
Social sector has been accorded top priority by the Government and major part of the budget is being spent on this vital sector. Himachal’s achievements under Social Sector had remained spectacular in the past, which have been possible due to the implementation of the welfare schemes in the state in the right perspective.