| (Above) Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma releases a poster and (right) Sangma with a beneficiary at the social assistance programme at Betasing on Tuesday. Pictures by Saidul Khan |
Tura, July 8: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today inspected the implementation of the social assistance scheme in the South West Garo Hills and West Garo Hills districts.
The chief minister’s social assistance scheme launched in 2012 is for the infirm, widows and persons with disability. Sangma paid special attention to ensure enrolment, so that the beneficiaries are not left out of the scheme.
The special drive for the scheme is under way at Zikzak and Betasing in the South West Garo Hills and Selsella in West Garo Hills.
“There has been a low turn-out for the scheme, so I felt the need to personally inspect to create awareness, so that beneficiaries can be enrolled,” said Sangma.
He said the department of social welfare has to take keen interest to ensure that people are identified for the scheme. Towards this end, helpdesk and chief minister’s support desk has been set-up at different locations to enable people to enrol.
“This is my pet programme and I want everybody who is entitled to benefit from this programme to be enrolled,” he added.
The chief minister’s social assistance programme does not require a person to be from below poverty line.
“Most of the people in rural areas of Meghalaya are poor. So it is not mandatory for them to produce the BPL card. We are ensuring that they are accommodated irrespective of their social status,” said Sangma.
Under the scheme, a financial assistance of Rs 500 is provided monthly. There is no age bar for a person with disability or for a widow. However, to seek benefit for pension, a woman has to be 58 years old and men 60 years.