Noting that many well-to-do families and government employees are found misusing the schemes meant for needy people, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has warned the undeserving lot to surrender their beneficiary cards or face action.
The chief minister was speaking during the state-level observance of the world AIDS day held at 1st MR battalion ground, Imphal organised by Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS).
A large number of deserving people/households are not getting benefits under different these government schemes, Singh said, while attributing it to irregularities in data collection and dishonesty of the officials concerned.
“Many well-to-do individuals and families are found enjoying government benefits meant for poor people, labour class and other weaker sections of the society. As such, this lot posing as beneficiaries should surrender their fake beneficiary cards before the government takes action against them,” he reiterated.
It is a matter of concern that 36 per cent of the population of the state is still under Below Poverty Line (BPL), though the per-head fund provided by the Centre to the state is three times higher when compared to the bigger states, the CM said.
“If any well-to-do or government employee is wrongfully enjoying benefit under a government scheme, it can be well assumed that he/she has deprived the right or benefit from a deserving/poor person,” he added.
Speaking on the status of HIV/AIDS in the state, N Biren Singh said that though the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is declining in the state, there is still a need for collective hard work of public, NGOs and the government to achieve the target of zero HIV infection cases in Manipur by 2024.
As per the records provided by the state health department, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the state is 1.43 per cent as against the all-India rate of 0.22 per cent, he said.
He observed that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs) should never be stigmatised and discriminated for they may have contracted the virus unknowingly.
The disease can be tackled effectively only when PLHIVs are given the same respect and right as normal persons, he added.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla said that it is imperative to make modifications and improvements in the state AIDS Policy so as to comprehend the changing circumstances and trend. Heptulla also encouraged the youths for the promotion of voluntary HIV testing before marriage.