In the 6th Annual meeting of H.P.Scheduled Caste Welfare Board, Chief Minister said that 94,716 new eligible persons had been sanctioned Social Security Pension by the State Government during past four years besides increasing the pension by Rs. 130 per month, thereby increasing the number of pensioners to 2,77,817 in the State.

Chief Minister said that it was during BJP regime in the State that Social Security Pension Scheme was introduced to eligible old age, widows and handicapped. He said that there was no increase in the pension amount during the preceding Congress regime and had remained Static at Rs. 200, as was being provided by BJP Government during its 1998-2003 term in office. He said on coming to power in December, 2007, the pension amount was enhanced to Rs. 300 and thereafter to Rs. 330 per month. He said that top priority was being accorded to identify eligible pensioners so that they were also brought under the ambit of the Social Security Pension Scheme. He said that the State Government was spending Rs. 112.46 crore annually on Social Security Pension Scheme.

Prof. Dhumal said that it was during BJP regime that the budgetary provisions under Scheduled Caste Sub Plan were enhanced from 11 percent to 25 percent in proportion to the population and compared to Rs. 231 crore provisions during Congress regime, record Rs. 816 crore were being spent over concentrated scheduled caste dominated habitation during current financial year. He said that interest free loan facilities were available to SC/ST families having an annual income of Rs. 1.00 lakh for higher vocational education upto Rs. 75,000, while the limit under National Boards was upto Rs. 7.5 lakh at a nominal rate of interest ranging between four to five percent. He said that loan facility upto Rs. 50,000 was available at 4 percent rate of interest for BPL and SCs for self employment ventures, while National Board was providing loan upto Rs. 5 lakh for the same purposes. He said that the housing subsidy had been enhanced from Rs.27,500 to Rs. 48,500 and a provision of Rs. 1050.25 lakh made for current financial year. He said that a provision of Rs. 333.70 lakh had been made for construction of Anganwari buildings in the State.

Chief Minister said that Solar lighting facilities would be made available to SC dominated habitations in a phased manner. He said that B.R.Ambedkar community centres were being constructed in every assembly segment to facilitate S.C. Community to organise their functions and Rs. 6.80 crore were being spent over the same. He said that toilets facility would also be provided in a phased manner. He said that Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojna would ensure provisions of basic amenities in two SC dominated villages in each of the assembly segments. He said that 75 LPG connections on 50 percent subsity were being provided to BPL families in each of the assembly segment under Mata Shabri Sashaktikaran Yojna. Dhumal directed Deputy Commissioners to take serious note of the conversion of religion by inducement and allurements and implement provision of the Act in letter and spirit. He said that Rs. 11,001 marriage grant was available to poor girls under Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojna besides a grant of Rs. 25,000 on widow marriage.

Later addressing Minorities Welfare Board meeting, Dhumal said that three language system had been introduced in State educational institutions, Hindi, English and Sanskrit as first, second and third languages respectively. However, 100 selected schools with minimum of 20 students opting for Punjabi language, were being provided Punjabi teachers out of which 79 had already been made functional. He thanked non-official members for their valuable suggestions and urged to equip themselves with information about all the policies and programmes of the State Government so that they could educate other people especially the beneficiaries. He said that necessary directions had been passed to issue permanent caste certificate to the applicants.

Sarveen Chaudhary, Social Justice & Empowerment Minister, welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for enhancing budgetary allocation under SC component Plan from 11 percent to 25 percent. She said that scholarships, stipend and vocational training facilities were being provided to SCs and OBCs. She said that soft loans worth Rs. 9.88 crore had been provided to 2599 beneficiaries. She said that 29 hostels had been constricted for students of the community while 13 other were under construction. S.K.Dash, Principal Secretary, Social Justice & Empowerment welcomed Chief Minister. Dr.Abhishek Jain, Director, Scheduled Caste, OBC and Minorities conducted proceedings of the meeting. Rajwant Sandhu, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries, Special Secretaries, Head of Departments, Deputy Commissioners, Senior Officers, non-official members were present in the meeting.

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