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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Jharkhand: ‘Government at your doorsteps’ scheme a ray of hope for many but issues remain

Under the initiative, the government organizes camps in at least 4-5 panchayats in every district to integrate beneficiaries in newer schemes or resolve issues pertaining to the existing ones.

Written by Abhishek Angad | Ranchi |
December 27, 2021 8:22:35 am
Hemant Soren, Hemant Soren news, Jharkhand news, Jharkhand government, Jharkhand sports scheme, Saraikela-Kharsawan, West Singhbhum, Khunti, Gumla and Simdega, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsJharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. (File)

Seventy-three-year-old Prahlad Benukul Gandhi from Manjhari block of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand had been running around for 13 years to get his old-age pension. He recalls submitting at least seven applications for the same. However, a few days ago, during one of the government’s camps organised in the district, his application was ‘successfully processed’ and he hopes he will get Rs 1000 old-age pension from next month onwards.

On December 4, a 65-year-old differently-abled woman, Guruwari from Matkamdih area of Potka block in East Singhbhum district, went to one of the government’s camps to get her voter I-card fixed and for getting her Aadhar card made. Within a day, she received her voter-I card at her residence and said that the government officials have “promised” her Aadhar card.

Gandhi and Guruwari are among lakhs of people whose various applications have been processed at such government camps organised as part of the Jharkhand government’s ‘Sarkar Aapke Dwaar (Government at your doorstep)’ scheme. Under the initiative, the government organizes camps in at least 4-5 panchayats in every district to integrate beneficiaries in newer schemes or resolve issues pertaining to the existing ones.

Over 5,766 such camps have been organized at panchayat and ward level across the state registering more than 30.55 lakh applications, since the start of this initiative on November 12 till December 24 this year, according to the government data. The scheme will continue till December 29, the eve of completion of the two years of the government.

“In last two years, a lot of efforts have been made by our government to live up to your expectations. Now the government is coming to your doors to deliver your rights at your doorsteps. Be sure to take advantage,” Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had said while launching the scheme in November.

However, despite such a huge initiative of the Jharkhand government, activists say that access to basic services still remain elusive to many.

Recently Jharkhand government universalized pension i.e there will be no quota on the number of beneficiaries, and has also announced to top up the amount over the central government’s assistance so that the pension amount reaches Rs 1000 per person.

Jharkhand has 13 lakh pensioners across three categories –elderly, differently-abled and widows – as per the data obtained from Pension Processing System under National Social Assistance Program.

Activists who work for the rights of the vulnerable in Jharkhand, however, say that many have been left out of ambit of eligible pensioners.

A survey conducted by the Khad Surakhsa Jan Adhikar Manch, a rights body working for the social security of the people in West Singhbhum district, pointed out that despite several applications, at least 835 elderly, 483 widows and 46 differently-abled persons did not receive the pension amount. The reasons for denial remained issues related to death certificates, disability certificates, age related issues in Aadhar with 226, 45, 148 cases respectively among other reasons.

For instance, in the West Singhbhum district, Porla Marla from Kadamdiha Panchayat of Goelkira Block, Madaru Purty from Chirubera block and Tusli Tubid of Tantnagar Block are out of pension ambit even when they are over 60 years-old. All three say that that their age as per Aadhar card details “falsely” mention them as less than 60 years of age.

“Their applications were rejected in Sarkar Aapke Dwar camps due to their age. But their actual age seems to be more than 65. Even when there was a counter in one of the camps for correction in the UID, the concerned person remained missing from there,” said Manki Tubid, who works with the rights body.

West Singhbhum Deputy Commissioner Ananya Mittal said that there are certain issues, but solutions are available in these camps. “But if the problem persists, we will look into the issues,” Mittal said.

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