Chandigarh(Raftaar News Bureau) : To provide safe and convenient accommodation for working women, the Social Security, Women and Child Development Department has decided to construct seven new hostels with a cost of Rs. 50 crore for working women throughout the Punjab with day care facilities for their children.Terming this decision as second gigantic endeavor of the department towards women empowerment after obtaining 33 percent reservation in government jobs for them, Social Security, Women & Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary informed that these fully equipped specialized hostels would be constructed in Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Mansa, Barnala, Ludhiana and Amritsar in a first phase and these would cater those women, who are working in a far-flung areas of their homes. Remaining districts will be covered in the next phase, she said, adding, the land for Mohali hostel has been allotted, while funds for Jalandhar hostel released and proposals for Mansa and Amritsar hostels have been received which are under process. Likewise, grants for remaining hostels would be released in the next financial year. She said that an estimated budget of Rs.50 crore is required for the construction of these hostels in various districts of Punjab on the line of metro cities. She said that 9 hostels for working women are already running in the state.
During a press conference here at Punjab Bhawan, Mrs. Chaudhary elaborated that 50% subsidized fare for all women in state-run buses, which was delayed due to COVID crisis, would be implemented soon. She said that earlier this facility has been provided to women after reaching the age of 60.
The Minister said that the process of constructing two government run old age homes in district Barnala and Mansa at a Cost of Rs 5.56 crore each is under way and the funds for constructing these old age homes have been released to Public Works Department. While, one government run home is being run in district Hoshiarpur, 50 NGO run old age homes are running in the state under Senior Citizen, Welfare and Maintenance Act, wherein 1409 senior citizens are residing, she added. The Minister was accompanied by Principal Secretary Mrs. Raji P. Shrivastava, Director Mr. Vipul Ujjwal, Joint Secretary Mrs. Vimmi Bhullar, Additional Director Mrs. Lilly Chaudhary, Joint Director Mr. Charanjit Singh Mann, Deputy Director Mr. Gurjinder Singh Maur, Deputy Director Mrs. Rupinder Kaur and District Program Officer Mr. Sukhdeep Singh.
The Cabinet Minister said that financial assistance of Rs.1695.93 crores have been disbursed to 25,54,473 beneficiaries of old age pensions, widows and destitute women, dependent children and Persons with Disabilities up to the month of November 2020. The Minister said that during this financial year, 1,22,274 new beneficiaries under pension schemes have been incorporated. She said that apart from this, financial assistance of Rs.8,000 per month has also been provided to Acid Attack Victims to make them self-reliant and total 24 beneficiaries have been given benefit under this scheme.
Mrs. Chaudhary said that during Covid-19 pandemic, disbursement of pensions was made through Banks in rural and urban areas in all districts. Banks have further disbursed pension amounts on the doorsteps of the beneficiaries through their Business Correspondents/Post Offices by strictly adopting social distancing protocols.
WELL PERFORMING STATES FOR ISSUING UDID CARDS
The Social Security Minister said that despite COVID-19 lockdown/curfew, 42,699 UDID cards to the persons with disabilities have been issued and the state entered into the well performing states in this project. She said that to achieve the target of providing UDID Cards to remaining persons with disabilities, the Deputy Commissioners have been asked to frequently review the progress of the UDID Project in monthly meetings, the Civil Surgeons instructed to digitize the offline issued certificates on priority basis and to reduce the rejection rate of the applications, particularly where documents uploaded by the applicant have minor errors only. Besides this, all District Social Security Officers are motivating the beneficiaries of Financial Assistance to Disabled Persons Scheme to register them in UDID Portal, the DEOs (Elementary & Secondary) are registering the Students with Disabilities on the UDID portal through Government Schools.
The Minister further added that 2,77,801 applications have been received on the portal. Out of these, 1,62,263 UDID Cards have been issued to the eligible persons with disabilities so far.
Mrs. Chaudhary categorically said that the state government has recently approved the Punjab Divyangjan Shaktikaran Yojana (PDSY) to empower Divyangjan of the state and provide a supportive environment to them.
DOOR TO DOOR SUPPLEMENTARY NUTRITION TO 10,77,020 BENEFICIARIES DURING COVID
The Cabinet Minister said that Rs.140 crores released for 27,314 Anganwari Centres in ICDS 155 blocks to enhance the health, nutrition and learning opportunities of mothers and children of the state. During these trying times, the department provided door to door Supplementary Nutrition including sweet dalia, sweet rice and panjiri to beneficiaries numbering 10,77,020 along with psychological support and nutrition counseling. Besides this, halwa and panjiri as morning snacks is also provided to the children in the age group of 3-6 years children who are attending Anganwadi Centres.
Divulging about child welfare schemes, she said that 551 children were provided Rs.2000 per child per month in the year 2020-21 under sponsorship schemes, which is an effort towards preventing children from becoming destitute/vulnerable, running away, forced into child marriage, forced into child work etc. Similarly, 37 children were placed in Intra-country adoptions and 5 children were placed in Inter-country Adoption (Spain) in the year 2020-21 under Adoption Scheme. As many as 190 children were rescued in child beggary raids and 155 from child labour raids through district task forces. The children were restored to their parents, and were enrolled in schools and regular follow up is being done, 32 child marriages were stopped especially during lockdown. A total number of 3576 cases were received on Child Help Line Number (1098), out of which 250 cases were produced before the Child Welfare Committee. 1069 cases were disposed off after appropriate action by the Child Help Line member. 35 children were restored and 9 were rehabilitated. Most of the cases received on Child Help Line were simple queries or requirements of essential services.
3,40,727 BENEFICIARIES GIVEN RS.142.96 CRORES UNDER PMMVY SCHEME
She said that a total 3,40,727 beneficiaries have been given benefit of Rs.142.96 crores under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, under which women of 19 years of age and above at the birth of the first live child are being given an amount of Rs.5000 in 3 installments subject to the fulfillment of specific conditions under the scheme.
DIGITAL PARENT MARGARDSHAK PROGRAM REACHED ONE LAKH FAMILIES
Mrs. Chaudhary said that to meet the developmental needs of children in an environment which is positive and nurturing, department has launched Digital Parent Margardshak Program, which has delivered more than 150 activities to the parents through a 6 day weekly cycle by reaching to more than 1,00,000 families within around 3 months of implementation. She said that its content has been consumed for over 15000 hours by these families across the state.