JAMMU: Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Farooq Khan today attended a meeting at Civil Secretariat which was chaired by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot from New Delhi to review the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme for Scheduled Castes, implementation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act and welfare of Transgender persons.
Union Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Rattan Lal Kataria, Krishan Pal Gurjar and Ramdas Athawale, Ministers and senior officers of concerned departments from various states also attended the meeting through virtual mode.
The Union Minister, while addressing the meeting, said that the Ministry is determined for welfare, social justice and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society. He said that after detailed deliberations, the Ministry has decided for a fixed sharing pattern of 60:40 ratio between Centre and States respectively which will be of 90:10 ratio for North-East States. He further said that the main agenda of the scheme is to focus on enrolment of SC students from the poorest households. He also informed that around Rs 69 thousand crore is allocated for the Post-Matric Scholarship of SC students for the next five years through which around four crore SC students would be benefitted.
Regarding implementation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, the Union Minister said that it is very important to protect the rights of SC/ST. He also emphasized that many issues regarding helpline numbers for SC/ST against atrocities, status of cases registered and charge sheet filed, status of Court cases pending and conviction rate besides other issues need urgent intervention for early redressal.
The Minister also discussed the issues related to welfare and protection of rights of transgender persons which included educational, social security, financial, health and other welfare measures of the transgender. He also asked the States/UTs to constitute a Transgender Welfare Board to review all existing welfare schemes and inclusion of transgender persons on those schemes to protect their rights and interests.
While welcoming the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Advisor Farooq Khan gave his observations over some of the points and urged the Minister for his intervention for the issues raised by him. He urged upon the Ministry to revise the income ceiling as it has not been revised since 2014. He also raised the issue related to the SC/ST students who don’t get accommodation in government hostels and live in private rooms/PG.
Advisor assured the Minister that UT administration will leave no stone unturned to come up to the expectation of the Ministry in implementation of the schemes.