As the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls draw closer, the Trinamool Congress government has launched the 'duare sarkar' (government at doorstep) programme to ensure that 11 state-run welfare schemes reach the people.
The outreach programme will continue till 30 January and will be conducted in four phases. While camps in the first phase are scheduled from 1 to 11 December, the second one will be from 15 to 24 December, the third from 2 to 12 January and the fourth from 18 to 30 January.
The schemes will be made available to beneficiaries through camps that will be functional every day from 10 am till 4 pm.
The schemes include Kanyashree, a cash transfer programme to ensure retaining girls in schools and preventing their early marriage, Khadya Sathi, which aims at ensuring food security for 90 percent of the population, and Sikhashree, a one-time grant to SC and ST students studying in classes 5 to 8 to reduce dropout rates.
Other schemes are Rupashree, a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 to poor families for a daughter's marriage, Jai Johar for the betterment of STs, Taposili Bandhu pension scheme for SCs and Aikyashree, a scholarship programme for students from minority communities and MGNREGS.
According to the plan, benefits of government schemes and services will be delivered to eligible beneficiaries through camps organised in each gram panchayat and municipality area. The West Bengal government has prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the programme, Bandyopadhyay said.
Senior officials of the rank of Sub-Divisional Officer and Block Development Officer will be monitoring the developments and feedback from attendees will be collected during and after the outreach programme, which is the brainchild of the political strategist Prashant Kishor, according to News18.
The experience of each phase will be used to improve the delivery of services to the beneficiaries attending subsequent camps. The entire state government machinery of the state government will be working in mission-mode for ensuring the success of this programme.
The camps must be organised in such a manner that every gram panchayat, municipality ward is covered at least once in each round. On completion of each phase, SDOs or BDOs should submit a detailed summary report to the district magistrate, highlighting the numbers of visitors who attended the camps. Detailed impact of the assessment of the camps will be done through an independent third party
"In addition, applications related to schemes, including social pensions like old age, widow, persons with disabilities implemented by any government department would be received during the course of this outreach programme for appropriate action," Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.
Sources told Telegraph that around 1.25 lakh people applied for benefits under government schemes at 20,000-odd camps on the first day of the camp on Tuesday. The report further said that most people were trying to get more information on how to apply for Swasthya Sathi, a fully free insurance scheme for all, allowing medical expense cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year.
Separate desk have been set up to receive miscellaneous applications from the members of the public for which suitable personnel with due training will be deployed. The local administration will take appropriate action for efficient and effective execution of cases from these 'Duare Sarkar' desks.
A rush of enquiries about caste certificates was also witnessed as these could not be issued during the nationwide lockdown creating a gap between the number of applications and certificates issued.
BJP-led Assam govt launches Orunodoi scheme
In neighbouring Assam, the BJP-led state government launched the Orunodoi scheme ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls. The beneficiary scheme targeted to cover 22 lakh families came into effect on 1 December. An amount of Rs 830 per month will be given to the qualified families through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT). The amount would support a family to buy medicines worth Rs 400 per month, 50 percent subsidy of four kg pulses worth Rs 200, Rs 80 for sugar and Rs 150 for essential vegetables and fruits.
The amount for December will be transferred in the last week of the month and thereafter, it will be credited in the last week every month.
The state government has already selected 18.20 lakh beneficiaries in 29 districts but this was expected to go up to 22 lakh as the districts under the Bodoland Territorial Area districts, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri, have not been included due to the model code of conduct for the forthcoming Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) polls on 7 and 10 December.
The money transfer will be sent to an account of a female member of the family. "We have selected those families where there are widows, divyangs, the girl who has not married, and the female who has come back from the house of the husband and staying with their parents. These kinds of families have got priorities and the state government has selected the beneficiaries out of these kind disadvantage sections," state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Households having, four-wheeler, tractor, TV and fridge, are, however, not eligible under the scheme.
The scheme will cost the government Rs 200 crore per month or Rs 2,400 crore annually. "Our target is to add another 8 lakh families and the amount will increase 25 percent more. We are thinking to expand the scheme more and more," Sarma said.
The female head of the household who have missed opening bank account should approach the nearest banking facility, i.e. a bank or a banking correspondent to open their bank account under Jan Dhan Yojana.
The application process of Orunodoi Scheme started from September and preference have been given to the households having widow, unmarried women and differently-abled person.
Further, this is an ongoing scheme, eligible households which could not be included in this phase shall be considered in the subsequent years of the scheme while those who are not eligible but have been wrongly enrolled should voluntarily approach the authorities to get their names removed.
The transfer of the amount to the beneficiary account shall be made directly from the state treasury through eKuber system of Reserve Bank of India. The payment to the beneficiaries of different districts shall be staggered over four days.
With inputs from PTI