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J&K launches social security scheme for families affected by COVID-19

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LG calls for robust PDS in J&K, streamlining distribution chain, 100% Aadhaar seeding of beneficiaries

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday rolled out its Special Assistance Scheme for COVID Mortalities (SASCM) to help out families affected by the coronavirus in the union territory.

Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha formally rolled SASCM by handing over the grant of scholarship and pension certificates to the children and the members of the families affected due to COVID-19.

“J&K government is committed to support children who lost their parents in this pandemic. The administration as guardian will take all necessary steps for their well-being and education, so they can have a bright future,” the LG said.

“We stand in solidarity with the families who lost the earning member to the pandemic. Besides pension, every effort will be made to ensure they live a dignified life and have no financial difficulties,” said the LG.

“It is our duty and responsibility to support families, restore livelihoods and ensure stability in their life,” he added.

For handholding of the affected families, a special cell has been constituted in Social Welfare department to track and facilitate benefits under existing government sponsored welfare schemes which the family may be eligible for, said the LG.

According to an official press release, the LG remarked that the administration will reach out to every affected family with financial assistance if they are willing to start their own business or other venture for self-employment, besides imparting training and providing market linkages to them.

All Deputy Commissioners and officials of Social Welfare department were directed to identify the families who have lost their loved ones due to Covid, so that social protection and other necessary support can be extended to them.

In order to provide round-the-clock support, the LG directed the District Social Welfare Officers to pay regular visits to such families in their respective areas.

“Work with high sensitivity and double your efforts in reaching out to every affected family ensuring that no one is left behind,” the LG told the officials.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has also initiated a separate scheme named “PM CARES for Children” for the help and empowerment of the children affected by the pandemic, which will benefit the families of our UT. All the concerned officials should make sure that benefits of the PM CARES are extended to all the affected families, he added.

He also appreciated the efforts of the Social Welfare department to identify as many as 512 beneficiaries for scholarship and pensionary support and further called for 100 percent coverage under the scheme at the earliest.

Simultaneously, the beneficiaries under the scheme received the scholarship and pension grants in various locations across the UT.

Pertinently, under the SASCM scheme, cash assistance of Rs 1000 per month shall be provided to spouse and the eldest member of the family. Apart from this, the scheme provides for scholarship of Rs 20,000 per annum for school-going students and Rs 40,000 per annum for college-going students.

A family in distress shall be eligible for scholarship for two children, if they are not getting any other scholarship. Besides, the benefits of all the other social welfare schemes, including pensions, etc., will be extended to the families, the press release informed.

Meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor Wednesday said that the J&K government is taking huge strides in ensuring food security for the residents of the UT through timely availability, efficient supply chain management and streamlining distribution of food-grains, besides moving towards 100 percent Aadhaar seeding of the beneficiaries under various schemes.

He made these remarks during the meeting to review the Public Distribution System (PDS) in J&K, here at the Civil Secretariat.

During the meeting, the LG took stock of the performance and future targets for the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) department under PDS.

According to an official press release, the meeting observed that the J&K government is reaching out to one crore people with ration through a network of 6738 ration shops covering  25.73 Lakh ration card holders including both NFSA & Non-NFSA beneficiaries. Moreover, the department operates the distribution process through an online public distribution system.

Emphasizing on streamlining the distribution chain, besides rationalizing the availability of quality food-grains at subsidized and affordable prices, the LG directed the concerned officials to bring reforms at the policy planning level to make the system more robust.

“Make all schemes available online, besides fully automating the distribution process, authentication of beneficiaries and putting special focus on public grievance to facilitate the people,” the LG directed the officials.

He further passed directions pertaining to timely winter dumping and providing it to the beneficiaries in advance.

Laying stress on the need to be proactive towards the issues of public in the wake of Covid pandemic, the LG directed the department to ensure seamless distribution of additional free-of-cost food-grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to alleviate the hardships faced by the poor and needy.

Earlier, Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Zubair Ahmad informed the meeting that more than 95 percent of Aadhaar seeding of ration cards for NFSA beneficiaries has already been achieved while the ration distribution is being done exclusively through PoS machines.

The LG also observed that ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’, part of the Prime Minister’s Technology Driven System Reforms under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, “has empowered the poor and the needy. It is one of the game-changer initiatives giving flexibility and seamless access to PDS and delivery of food-security entitlements to all beneficiaries, anywhere in the country.

“A perfect example of integrating technology with the government process and putting it to optimum use for benefit of poor,” he added.

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