To make weaker sections of the society economically and socially secure, the Himachal Pradesh is according top priority for their upliftment. Numerous welfare programmes and schemes are being implemented by the State Government to achieve this objective. Consistent efforts are being made to make every person of the target groups aware about the welfare policies so that they may avail the benefits of these programmes.
State Government is providing Social Security Pension to eligible old aged, widows and handicapped persons at the rate of Rs. 550 per month. 2 lakh 92 thousand 921 eligible persons are being provided Social Security Pension at present. A budgetary provision of Rs. 21543.21 lakh has been made under the scheme for the year 2014-15 and a target has been fixed to cover a total of 3,04,921 eligible persons by the end of financial year 2014-15.
Persons above 80 years of age are being provided the Social Security Pension at the rate of Rs. 1000 per month since 1st April, 2013. Keeping in view the vulnerability and special social needs of these people, the State Government has decided to provide them Social Security Pension irrespective of any income limit except to those who are drawing any other pension. At present there are about one lakh persons in this age group in the state. Persons with 70 percent or more disability are being provided Rs. 750 per month as social security pension.
State Government would be providing additional benefits of Rs. 110 crore for social security pensions in the year 2014-15.
The Allocation under Schedule Caste Special Component Plan has been increased to 25.19 percent for the year 2014-15. A total budget outlay of Rs. 1325 crore has been made for Schedule Caste (SC), Other backward Classes (OBC) and Minority Affairs Department for this financial year. To ensure all round development of tribal areas and welfare of tribal people, State Government has provided Rs.924 crore for tribal areas.
The grant for Inter-Cast Marriage has also been enhanced to Rs. 50,000 from Rs. 25,000.
A subsidy of Rs.1500 for purchasing Sewing Machines and other Implements is being provided to those youth of SC, ST and OBC categories who have been trained in an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) or in any other Training Institute so as to make them Self Reliant. Rs. 106.11 lakh has been provided for the purpose in the year.
The State Government has also enhanced the subsidy for house building for SC/ST and OBC categories. The beneficiaries are now being provided a subsidy of Rs. 75,000 for construction of houses. Earlier they were being provided a subsidy of Rs. 48,500 for the purpose. Subsidy for repair of houses has also been increased to Rs. 25,000 for these groups. A target has been fixed to benefit 2452 eligible persons under the scheme by spending Rs.1840.54 lakhs.
Computer Course training is also being imparted to youths belonging to BPL families of SC category. They are being provided Rs. 1200 per month as training fee and Rs. 1000 per student per month as scholarship. A provision of Rs. 366 lakh has been made under the scheme for the yare 2014-15.
State Government is providing Scholarships to handicapped children with an objective of providing them quality education right from 1st class to Post Graduation level. Rs. 96.71 lakh are being spent in this financial year for the purpose. They are also being provided a subsidy of Rs. 10,000 or 20 percent of the project cost for self employment avenues. Handicapped persons are also being provided free training in selected ITI’s in selected trades along with monthly scholarship of Rs. 1000.
These initiatives of the State Government would definitely help in bringing the targeted groups of the society in the mainstream.