As a sequel to the mega launch of Ladli Beti and AASRAschemes in the capital cities, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Tuesday launched the social security scheme in Budgam, which is among the six districts having a disturbingly low child sex ratio. He also launched AASRA, an insurance-based scheme aimed at benefiting low-income families of the state. The Chief Minister was flanked by Minister for Revenue, Javaid Mustafa Mir, Minister for Agriculture Production, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Minister for Forest & Social Welfare, Bali Baghat and Minister of State for Health & Social Welfare, Aiesa Naqash. Laying emphasis on reaching out to girl child, the Chief Minister said the Laldi Beti scheme aims at reversing the alarming trend of declining child sex ratio in some districts of the state. “In my entire political career, I can’t think of any other scheme which has given me greater satisfaction,” he said, while highlighting its broad contours which address the concerns of the girl child right from her birth to adulthood. Blaming social evils like dowry and domestic violence for shrinking space of girl child, the Chief Minister said it saddens him when he sees girls still subjected to stereotypes and discrimination. He described girls as a huge human resource and a ‘perfect embodiment of politeness and courteousness’. “We are trapped in regressive rituals and customs which are promoting gender bias. I hope through this scheme, we are able to give our girls a new identity,” he added. Asking society to contribute in transforming girl of today into an economically-empowered woman of tomorrow, Mufti Sayeed directed the Social Welfare Department to evolve a mechanism which identifies eligible beneficiaries under the scheme in a hassle-free manner. He said lot of girls will not improve unless the society as a whole doesn’t change its perception. “By becoming doctors, teachers and excelling in private sector as well, girls have over and over again proved their mettle in competing with their male counterparts and even overshadowing them in certain cases,” he observed. Emphasizing the necessity for girls to be able to access education and skill training for securing better jobs, the Chief Minister called for removing structural barriers which hinder giving our girls opportunities of quality education. “Ensuring education will be the biggest contribution we can make in the life of a girl child,” he added. The Chief Minister said he was happy to note that besides the extremely poor, even those who work as casual labourers, daily wagers and SPOs can avail benefits under AASRA scheme. Hailing the Chief Minister for giving a new direction to empowerment of females, both Javaid Mustafa Mir and Ghulam Nabi Lone hoped that Laldi Beti will provide the much-needed economic cushion to girls belonging to extremely poor sections of the society. Describing female infanticide as a heinous crime, Bali Baghat urged the society to put in concerted efforts to create conducive environment which will allow the girl child equal opportunities especially in the spheres of education and employment. The Ladli Beti scheme has been launched in eight districts of the state with the inclusion of Kishtwar, which was announced by the Chief Minister yesterday. Under the scheme, girls who take birth on or after April 1st 2015 will get Rs.6.5 lakh on attaining the age of 21. Girl child born to parents whose annual income is less than Rs.75000 per annum will be eligible under the scheme. An amount of Rs.1000 per month will be deposited towards the birth of every girl child, with effect from 01.04.2015 for the next 14 years. The prescribed application form for the scheme is available in the offices of DPO and CDPOs concerned. The other scheme AASRA, an insurance scheme targeting low-income families having annual income less than Rs.75000, will provide Rs. 2 lakh to the bread-winner, widow or destitute, in case of death and Rs. 1 lakh in case of disability due to injury. Also present on the occasion were MLC, Saifuddin Bhat, Secretary Social Welfare, Sanjeev Verma, Director Social Welfare, Kashmir, Hashmat Ali Itoo and PDP District President, Muntazir Mohiuddin.
2015 Kashmir Despatch