|Early Times Report|
SRINAGAR, May 17: Despite directives by the Centre, the state government has failed to verify the beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes in the Valley in the last one decade.
After receiving complaints about misuse of various centrally sponsored schemes, the Union Government asked Social Welfare Department several times to hold fresh verification of beneficiaries under various schemes.
However, the State Government has failed to hold the verification since 2008.
"No verification has been done since 2008. We have no idea if the people who benefit under these schemes are genuine or not as no verification has been conducted since last one decade," an official said.
Official sources said the union ministry has received complaints about misuse of social welfare schemes in J&K, following which central government has withheld funds, depriving the genuine beneficiaries of the legitimate benefits.
According to the official figures, there are around 65,000 cases of widows, old age pension, and others waiting for the approval with the Social Welfare Department in the Valley.
Under the Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) and National Social Assistance Programme, financial assistance of Rs 1000 per month is being provided by the Social Welfare Department to old, widows, and physically handicapped, and people falling below the poverty line.
As of now, there are 2,42,668 beneficiaries availing the ISSS, while 78658 people are benefitting from the NSAP in Kashmir division.
The data reveals that the department presently spends Rs 327 crore annually on such cases in the Valley.
An official acknowledged they have many cases pending with them and the number keeps on increasing by the day.
"Old age, widow, and disability pension cases, have not been cleared by the government due to the paucity of funds," he said.
Since the death of her husband two-years-ago, Khadija said she has been pursuing the case to receive widow pension. "So far all my efforts have proved futile as I have received no relief from the government," Hajra said.
A senior official said that department was making efforts to provide benefits to 65,000, who have applied to avail from social welfare schemes.
"The department is going to conduct a verification to weed out the undeserving cases and replace them by genuine people," he said.