Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s order of streamlining the functioning of Social Welfare Department and deletion of the names of ‘ghost children’ bore fruits as the department, after head counts, has been able to prune down the number of beneficiaries to 35 lakh thus giving a relief to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs. 150 crore every year, the chief minister’s office said in a statement.
It may be noted that taking a strong note on the allegation of fraudulently and entering ghost names and siphoning off money from Anganwadi Centres in the state, Chief Minister Sonowal had ordered an inquiry and as a result the names of pregnant mothers and lactating children and children from six month to six years were detected and deleted. These ‘ghost names’ were taking a huge toll — Rs 150 crore a year — on the state exchequer.
In a high-level meeting of the Social Welfare Department held at the chief minister’s conference room in Janata Bhawan on Friday, Chief Minister Sonowal asked Welfare Department Principal Secretary Jishnu Baruah to fine-tune the functioning of the department, including the Anganwadi Centres, and provide nutrition to women and children who are predominantly from the underprivileged section of the society.
Sonowal also asked the Principal Secretary Baruah to expeditiously complete the survey of the specially abled people in the state so that the State government’s decision of providing financial assistance of Rs. 12,000 each to every divyangjan at the rate of Rs. 1000 every month can given. He also asked the Director Social Welfare Department S. S. Meenakshi Sundaram to set up skill development centres for the specially abled people for their capacity building. He also asked him that state of the art centre of Skill Development be set up in Guwahati for the devyangs.
Sonowal also reviewed Poshan Abhiyan and said that ground work should completed soon for its implementation in 24 districts initially which is to be expanded later in all the 33 districts of the state. He also asked the director to make the Women’s helpline ‘181’ a 24X7 business. The director replied that women’s helpline would be made functional on 24X7 from May 31 onwards. Sonowal also took stock of Integrated Child Development Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Deen Dayal Divyanjan Sahajya Achoni, Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
Sonowal also took note of the existing vacancies in the Social Welfare Department more particularly the recruitment process for divyangjans and asked the Principal Secretary and Director to fill up the vacancies. Sonowal also advocated for drastic actions to help the Social Welfare Department to live upto its objectives it was created.
Moreover, Sonowal also asked the Principal Secretary to use the budgetary allotment of Rs. 400 lakh given for the first time to put a spanner on child marriage, child trafficking and child labour. He also asked him to expeditiously bifurcate the Social Welfare Department and start the functioning of both the directorates.
Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Lohiya and other senior officers of the department were present at the meeting, the release stated.