JAMMU, APRIL 2: The schemes under the social welfare sector, like Old Age Persons, Women in Distress, Physically Challenged People, Mal-Nourished children, Lactating and expecting women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and other Economically Weaker sections of the society plays an important role in improving the lives of these segments of the society.
As part of the national development initiatives, the commitment towards welfare of under-privileged and the downtrodden, backward and vulnerable sections of the society is tremendous. The role of the social welfare sector in fulfillment of this commitment thus becomes important and it has been instrumental for removing the distress of these sections through amelioration and anti- poverty measures.
Jammu and Kashmir’s annual budget has seen a steep hike during the past three years. In 2019-20, J&K had 88,911 crore worth budget which went up to Rs 1 lakh crore for 2020-21 and this year J&K has received a whopping Rs 1.13 lakh crore (net) for the year 2022-23. This substantial increase in budget is mainly because of good performance by the Union Territory’s Finance Department with no bills pending in the Government Treasuries for long, as used to be the case earlier.
For the social welfare sector, an allocation of about Rs.198.07 crore has been made under Capital Expenditure for the year 2022-23 which is Rs.4.93 crore more than the previous year’s budget allocation. In the new budget, 100% coverage under all individual beneficiary schemes would be ensured in 2022-23. Distribution of dietary items and supplementary nutrition items are being made at the doorsteps of beneficiaries in all districts of the UT. There is also a proposal for Old Age Homes to be established in all districts. Motorized tricycles will be provided to all Handicapped persons thereby achieving 100% saturation level for which Rs 25 crore have been provisioned. Besides, geo-tagging of all the Anganwadi Centers will be made in collaboration with the Information Technology Department.
About 8,88,359 beneficiaries were provided pension benefits at the rate of Rs.1,000 per month under Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) and National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). There has been an increase of 59% of beneficiaries under social security and pension schemes.
In a landmark step, the transgender population has, for the first time, been included for pension benefits under ISSS.
The welfare of displaced Kashmiri people has been the top priority for the government which is visible from the fact that 1025 transit accommodation units have already been completed or substantially completed. 1488 units are at different stages of completion and the work on 2744 units of transit accommodation has been initiated. Out of 6000 posts created for Kashmiri Migrants under PM Package/PMDP-2015, 4678 posts have been filled and remaining posts are being filled up. Providing food grains, cash assistance and other benefits will continue under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) in 2022-23.
Tribal welfare also assumes immense significance. For Tribal Affairs, an allocation of about Rs.282.23 crore has been made under Capital Expenditure for the year 2022-23 which is same as the previous year’s budget allocation. In the new budget, 100% coverage of pre-matric and post-matric scholarship to Gujjar and Bakerwal students and ST students with 100% disbursement through DBT expected to be accomplished in 2022-23. Besides, establishment of 14 Milk villages would be taken up in 2022-23 while 29 Cluster Tribal Model Villages are being established and are at different stages of implementation. Also, construction of seven transit accommodations/shelter sheds with an estimated cost of Rs 3.50 crore each would be taken up in 2022-23. Six Eklavya Model Residential Schools for ST students are being established.
The new budget lays the foundation for inclusive development for all sections of the society and the government is very keen to empower the weaker sections through various social and tribal welfare initiatives.