In a major move to provide relief to the people deserving benefits under various Social Welfare schemes, the J&K government Monday announced that all major schemes will be implemented by Village Councils. The process, government said, will ensure benefits of various schemes for old aged, students, widows and marriage assistance for girls at the doorsteps. "We have decided to provide benefits to deserving people right at their doorsteps. Now people including those physically disabled need not to make rounds of government offices to get various benefits which is their right," said Minister for Social Welfare Sajad Lone at a meeting here. He said the benefits to be given by the government to various beneficiaries should not look like a charity but a due right.
"We have decided to constitute Village Level Social Welfare Councils (VLSWC) in all the 6330 villages of J&K for the effective implementation of all the major schemes right at the door steps," Lone said. "The step is a revolutionary one and can prove a major pro-people step once implemented on ground." The minister said Village Councils have been empowered to get fresh fruit, rice, dals, spices from the market and as per the need and taste of the children in Aganwadi Centres. "Besides, Village Councils will also identify students for scholarships, widows for financial assistance, girls for marriage assistance, and oversee the functioning of Aganwadi Centres," he said.
For the implementation of scheme, Directorate of Social Welfare and the Directorate of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) have joined hands. "Once the scheme is implemented, it will streamline the process of providing benefits to the deserving people," Director Social Welfare, Hashmat Ali, told Greater Kashmir. He said there are countless schemes in the Social Welfare department the only thing is awareness and then the implementation. "Setting up of Village Councils is a historic decision where deserving will get benefits in their own villages," Ali said.
Mission Director ICDS Talat Pervez said the basic concept of setting up Village Councils is to do away with the practice of beneficiaries going to Tehsil office, police station and Patwaris. "All these things will be done by the Village Councils now. Under this scheme, government has given powers directly to the people to ensure people get benefitted," Pervez said. He said Village Councils can prove an effective tool in identifying the deserving people, who need government support.
According to the government order number 267-SWD of 2016 Dated 30-12-2016, in order to decentralise the process of implementation of various welfare schemes aiming at mitigating the travails of disempowered sections of the society, besides bringing the benefits of these schemes at the door steps of the people, sanction is accorded to constitution of Village Councils. After successful establishment of councils at the village level, similar councils will be set up at the district level. The order states that prominent citizens of the village, preferably from amongst retired government officials residing in the village with known integrity and capability will be its members one of whom will be elected as the Chairman of Village Council. "Females who are keen for social work and community participation for welfare and social empowerment will also be the members. Three educated youth will also be the members," the order reads. "Anganwadi Supervisor concerned will be the member secretary. Village council may co-opt any other member to provide/render technical guidance/support if he/she is a non-resident of the village."