Srinagar, July 21 :Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha chaired a crucial meeting, at the Civil Secretariat, to assess the performance of the Department of Social Welfare, functioning of various verticals, and the implementation of Central and UT's welfare schemes.
Highlighting the top priorities, Lt Governor Sinha stated, "Social safety net, social and economic empowerment of underprivileged is our top priority. The benefits of overall progress and economic growth must reach marginalized sections of society, and it is our moral and constitutional duty to address the needs of the last man in the queue and ensure dignity for all."
During the meeting, Lt Governor Sinha directed the officers to ensure 100% saturation of all welfare schemes and conduct a thorough impact assessment of ongoing schemes. He emphasized the need for a responsive, seamless, and simplified process for documentation and sanctioning of eligible applications.
To bring about positive change, Lt Governor Sinha called for more accountability and active participation of field functionaries to achieve social objectives. He stressed the importance of ensuring the right to education, empowerment of women, providing a joyful childhood, and ensuring greater security and quality life for the elderly.
Safety and security for women and children in the UT were highlighted as utmost priorities, and the Lt Governor directed the establishment of a dedicated integrated mechanism for conducting awareness programs and ensuring prompt reporting, investigation, and stringent action in cases of distress.
The meeting extensively discussed welfare measures for persons with disabilities, Transgenders, senior citizens, SCs/STs, Pahari community, and other beneficiaries. Lt Governor Sinha called for adequate attention and sensitivity to increase employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups under SC, ST, OBC Development Corporation, Women Development Corporation, and Self Employment Schemes, aiming to make them equal partners in development.
He also emphasized the need for impact assessment of rehabilitation efforts for drug abuse victims, creating avenues for their self-employment, and capacity building to integrate them back into society.
In a significant step, the Lt Governor instructed the Social Welfare Department to organize two Mega Camps for persons with disabilities in collaboration with the Government of India, one each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions.
Furthermore, Deputy Commissioners and PRI members were directed to ensure 100% saturation of disability certificates for all eligible beneficiaries.
Various schemes and programs, including Mission Vatsalya, Ladli Beti, Marriage Assistance Scheme, infrastructure up-gradation of children and senior citizen homes, working of One Stop Centres, drug demand reduction and de-addiction activities, community mobilization, and IEC activities of the department, were reviewed during the meeting.
Discussions were also held on recruitment of Sanginis and Sahayikas, rehabilitation of children on the streets, close monitoring of help-lines, penetration of new Anganwadi centres at the grassroots level, implementation of Poshan Tracker, and participation of children homes' inmates in Independence Day events.
Sheetal Nanda, Commissioner/Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, presented a detailed overview of the department's workings during the meeting. She further briefed the attendees on the Constitution of various Committees, best practices of the department, achievements of students from Residential School for the Visually Impaired, and compensation under POCSO.
In an interesting development, all children homes in the UT are now branded uniformly as "Palaash" (for Boys), "Pareesha" (for Girls), and Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) as "Phulwadi."
The meeting was graced by the presence of Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Santosh D Vaidya, Principal Secretary, Finance Department; Dr. Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Sh. Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Vijay Bidhuri, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, along with Heads of Departments and senior officers of the Social Welfare Department.