Applications for assistance piling up at Social Welfare dept for years

Applications for assistance piling up at Social Welfare dept for years
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Lack of funds deterring listing of new beneficiaries

Srinagar: More than 25000 under-privileged persons, eligible for financial assistance under various schemes from the Social Welfare Department in Srinagar, are not getting any assistance for what the department says paucity of funds.
The people have been making rounds of the department for years, but are met only with hollow assurances.
“We have been visiting the social welfare department so many times for many years but every time officials say ‘you will receive your money through your bank account’ but we don’t receive a single penny,” said Ghulam Qadir.
As per the officials records, in Srinagar district 7850 old aged are getting the old age pension funds while more than 6000 persons are in the pending list, not receiving any assistance despite eligibility.
Similar in the category of physically changelled persons some 6963 person are receiving the funds while as 7000 are not.
Official figures show that under the category of ‘women in distress’ which includes widows only 15565 are getting the benefit while as 12000 are not receiving any assistance.
The department provides a monthly assistance of Rs 1000 to the beneficiaries in the three categories, but for several years, files of prospective beneficiaries are piling up at the department.
“I submitted my form here two years ago, but I am yet to receive any money. I have no idea what sort of affairs goes on here. Many times I go to the department to confirm about the status of my case. They told me that I don’t need to come to the office again and again as the money would be credited into the account,” Zoonah Banoo, a resident of Khanyar area, told Kashmir Reader.
An official wishing not to be named told Kashmir Reader that from 2007 onwards, more than 25000 cases are pending in Srinagar district alone.
“These numbers may further go up as in 2016 government revised the assistance amount to Rs 1000, due to which we are receiving more cases especially in old age category. But without funds what can we do, we are not able to resolve the issue,” he said.
“We provide forms to people, what else can we do, but these forms remain in file covers that gather dust or are locked in almirahs. The problem is that we don’t have funds for these pending cases,” he added.
District Social Welfare Officer, Srinagar, Akhoon Ashraf told Kashmir Reader that the department receives only half of required funds.
“We receive only around 50 percent of funds. Earlier we used to give Rs 300 – 400 as assistance, but after it was revised to Rs 1000, it has increased the liability for the department, and made it difficult to clear the pendency list,” Akhoon said.
“It is because of this reason we have pending cases but we are now trying to complete them as we are expecting more funds to come,” he said.
Officials said the department has a requirement of around 70 crores rupees while they get only Rs 40 crore.
“Recently we had a meeting with our higher ups and they are desirous to cover all pending eligible beneficiaries under schemes implemented by the welfare department,” he added. “For achieving this objective it is important that ineligible and undeserving applications are removed from the pending list,” he said.