Expansion of 5 kg LPG cylinder scheme in Delhi

Expansion of 5 kg LPG cylinder scheme in Delhi 

Honb’le Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas today launched the sale of 5 kg cylinders under Free Trade LPG scheme at 100 additional locations across the Delhi to cater to the LPG requirement for all sections of the society including economically weaker families, students, migrant labour etc. Speaking on the occasion Minister said that LPG is cleaner fuel and helps in creating a better and smokeless cooking environment. LPG is easier to use and helps in faster cooking resulting in saving of time. Minister further stated that there are people such as migrant labourer, students, IT professional who do not have proof of Address, since they acquire a residence on temporary basis. Such people can buy a 5 kg LPG Cylinder at market price from various locations, including Retail Outlets of OMCs and designated shops located all across Delhi. The present cost of a non-subsidized 5 kg LPG connection including the cost equipment is Rs. 1887/- . The refill price for 5 kg cylinder under this scheme currently is Rs. 351/- and same shall vary on monthly basis. Under this scheme, the customer is free to take the refill as per his/her convenience from any of the authorized outlet on “Cash & Carry” basis.He also said that people can also take a regular 5 Kg LPG Cylinder connection at subsidized rate by registering themselves with Oil Marketing Companies. The weaker sections of the society, who may find the connection cost of 14.2 Kg cylinder high would benefit with this low cost 5 kg cylinder connection. A 5 kg New Connection, with security of cylinder and Regulator along with other mandatory charges and cost of LPG, costs Rs. 905/- as against a New 14.2 Kg Connection which would cost Rs 2297/-. The cost of 5 kg refill under this scheme is Rs. 155/- as against Rs. 417/- for 14.2 kg cylinder .The present subsidy element on the 5 kg cylinder is Rs. 196 per cylinder and the connection is available from LPG Distributorships of OMCs. Both methods of expanding coverage of 5 KG LPG cylinder are expected to be a boon for the society. Minister has also approved extension of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund scheme for all households poor below the poverty line including in urban areas. This will immensely benefit poor households. Earlier the scheme was only available for BPL families in rural areas covered under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitran Yojana . Under this scheme, security deposit of 14. 2 KG LPG connection and cost of pressure regulator amounting to Rs.1600 is borne by Oil Marketing Companies from the Corporate Social Responsibility Fund. The above extension is valid till the end of current financial year 2014-15. 


Inauguration of Mission Office for PAHAL at World Trade Centre 

Honb’le Minister of State (Independent charge) Petroleum and natural gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has inaugurated the PAHAL office in World Trade Centre in New Delhi today. During the inauguration ceremony Shri Saurabh Chandra Secretary Petroleum and Natural Gas and other officers of Ministry and Oil Marketing Companies were also present. Speaking on the occasion, Minister said that PAHAL is one of the most ambitious project of Government of India, being the largest direct benefit transfer scheme in world. He said that ministry is rolling out the scheme in a mission mode and rollout of the scheme will happen in entire country on 1st January 2015. Creation of a separate mission office for PAHAL is one such step in this regard. Government has also approved creation of a separate PAHAL mission office comprising of a Director level officer assisted by one under secretary, one section officer, two assistant and consultants in view of the scale of the scheme. CMDs and all senior officers of Oil Marketing Companies and officers of the Ministry have been made the guardian officers of one district to monitor the implementation of the scheme. In this regard, the Minister has also taken charge of Palwal district in Haryana.PAHAL implementation has also been linked with the Annual performance Appraisal of the Oil Company’s officers who have been given the task of supervision and coordination at district level. Minister has interacted with District administrations of over 40 Districts, with a view to ensure there is coordination between various stakeholders and also for a seamless roll-out across the country. In this context, it is planned to cover another 10 Districts before the end of this year, as part of this exercise. In this regard it is important to mention that Ministry has already launched the scheme in 54 districts of the country on 15.11.2014 where the progress of the scheme has been quite satisfactory. The scheme will be extended to all districts of the country on 1st January 2015 covering approximately 15.34 Crore LPG consumers. So far 5.38 Crore LPG Consumers have already provided the details of Aadhaar / bank accounts and are eligible to receive the subsidy in their bank accounts. An amount of Rs.549 Crore has already been transferred into the bank account of 17.9 Lakh LPG consumers since 15.11.2014

Rural Development Minister calls for revamp of PMGSY to build more roads 

The Union Minister for Rural Development Shri Birender Singh today said that his Ministry will totally revisit the specifications, Standards and guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana( PMGSY) for reducing cost in construction of rural roads. He said, by rescheduling the entire fixation of PMGSY, a lot of funds could be saved to build more roads in the rural areas and pointed out that 14 percent administrative expenses is too much in the overall budget. He also suggested that States should bear the burden for maintenance of roads as there is a dedicated machinery in each state to undertake such works. It is to be noted that under PMGSY-II, 50,000 kilometres of roads will be upgraded with complete central funding. He was speaking here on the occasion of Good Governance Day, which the Rural Development Ministry has decided to celebrate as PMGSY Divas. 

The Minister said, this year 14,000 crore rupees will be spent for providing road connectivity in the rural areas, which will facilitate poverty reduction on a large scale. He also pitched for large scale use of plastic waste in the construction of rural roads and said this will help in Swachh Bharat Mission. He expressed satisfaction that 2/3rd of the habitations in the country have already been covered by PMGSY and also emphasised that all efforts will be made to take the scheme in the remotest nook and corner of the country. 

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Sudarshan Bhagat said, the scheme was launched 14 years ago by the previous NDA government led by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee on his birthday on 25th December 2000 with great fanfare and it achieved tremendous success in providing connectivity to the rural India. He said, so far more than One Lakh three thousand villages had been connected by this scheme and rural roads measuring more than 4 Lakh 16 thousand kilometres had been built. Shri Bhagat said, in the coming days, focus will be to build roads in the 88 most backward Districts of the Country identified by the Planning Commission and the Home Ministry. 

In his address, Secretary Rural Development Shri L.C.Goyal said, Accountabilty, Transparency and Efficiency are the three key pillars of the PMGSY. He said, PMGSY is not merely construction of roads, but it should be seen in the larger context of socio-economic impact it brings on the rural economy. Shri Goyal said, though the Government of India have launched many flagship schemes for poverty reduction, but PMGSY has proved itself as a very good model of good governance. 

Earlier, Shri Birender Singh launched a new module on citizens complaint on programme software OMMAS, and released Standard Data Book and Journal “Grameen Sampark”. 

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment 

(YEAR END REVIEW-2014 of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) 

Launch of Modern AIDS and Assistive Devices & Commencement of New Schemes 

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability) is entrusted with the empowerment of the Persons with Disabilities.  The main activity of the Department are:

1.      Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) Scheme
Under the ADIP Scheme, grant-in-aid is released to various implementing agencies (National Institutes/ Composite Regional Centres/Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India(ALIMCO)/District Disability Rehabilitation Centres/State Handicapped Development Corporations/other local bodies/ NGOs) to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances to promote  physical, social and psychological rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities by reducing the effects of disabilities and at the same time enhance their economic potential.  

Revision of ADIP Scheme

The ADIP scheme has been revised w.e.f. 1.4.2014.

The salient features of the revised ADIP Scheme are as indicated below:- 

(i)                 Enhancement of income eligibility ceiling for 100% concession from the existing Rs. 6,500/- per month to Rs. 15,000/- per month and for a 50% concession from Rs. 15001/- to Rs. 20,000/- per month.

(ii)        To provide accessible mobile phone to visually impaired students of the age of 18 years and above only, once in five years and to provide laptop, Braille Note Taker and Brailler to school going disabled students (10th and above), once in 10 years.

(iii)       Cost ceiling for aids/appliances revised from Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 10,000/- for single disability and from Rs. 8,000/- to Rs. 12,000/- for Students with Disabilities.

(iv)       Ceiling of cost of medical/surgical correction which presently ranges from Rs. 500/- to Rs. 3,000/- revised as under:-

(a)                From Rs.500/- to Rs.1,000/- for hearing and speech impaired.

(b)               From Rs.1,000/- to Rs.2,000/- for visually disabled.

(c)                From Rs.3,000/- to Rs.5,000/- for orthopedically disabled. 

(v)        Enhancing  the extent of subsidy for motorized tricycles and wheelchairs from the present Rs. 6,000/- to Rs. 25,000/- for severely disabled and for locomotor disabilities such as Quadriplegic (SCI), Muscular Dystrophy, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Hemiplegia and any other person with similar conditions where either three/four limbs or one half of the body are severely impaired.  This will be provided to the persons of age of 18 years and above, once in 10 years.

vi)        Provision for cochlear implant for 500 children per year with Hearing disability under the scheme, with a ceiling of Rs. 6.00 lakh per unit.   Income ceiling for the beneficiaries will be the same i.e., up to Rs. 15,000/- per month for 100% concession and from    Rs. 15001/- to Rs. 20,000/- per month for  50% concession.

vii)       Implementing agencies shall use 5% of the grant-in-aid as administrative/overhead expenses for conducting awareness, assessment and follow-up camps.

The Budget Allocation for the year 2014-15 is Rs. 110.00 crore.

2.                  Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 (SIPDA)
i)                    Financial assistance is provided under the Scheme to State Govt. and institutions/organisations run by the Central and State Governments for various activities for implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act, mainly for providing barrier free environment in Universities, Public Buildings, State Government Secretariat, office of State Commissioner for Disabilities etc.,  to make Government websites at the State and District levels accessible to PwDs, to establish early diagnostic and intervention centres at District Headquarters/other places having Government Medical Colleges, Skill development programmes for PwDs, construction of special recreation centres for PwDs where the appropriate Governments/local authorities have their own land. 
The Budget Allocation for the year 2014-15 is Rs. 80.00 crore. 

3.                  Setting up of National Institute for Inclusive and Universal Design
Ministry propose to establish National Institute for Inclusive and Universal Design on the Inclusive Agenda of Universal Design which will focus on Environmental access by everyone, though assigning higher importance to access by people with Disabilities

4.                  Setting up of Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre(ISLRTC)

v  Ministry proposes to set up Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC) under the aegis of Department of Disability Affairs.
v  The Institute will lead the way in academic development, training and propagation of Indian Sign Language.

5.                  State Spinal Injury Centres
v Department is in process of formulation of a Scheme of setting up of State Spinal Injury Centre for which an outlay of Rs. 20 crore has been earmarked under the 12th Five Year Plan.
v The focus of the State Spinal Injury Centres shall be mainly on the comprehensive management of Spinal Injuries. 
6.         Establishment of Centre for Disability Sports
v  Centre for Disability Sports is proposed to be established for which Rs. 20.00 crore is earmarked for 12th Plan period.
v  Action has been initiated to engage a consultant for preparation of Detailed Project Report.
v  Ministry also proposes to establish Regional Centres.
7.                  Directory of Aids & Assistive Devices
The Department in collaboration with TIFAC, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, initiated a web portal for meeting the accessible needs relating  to aids and appliances for persons with disabilities.  The web portal has been launched by the Hon’ble President on 3rd December 2014.
8.                  Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 has been in force for over 17 years. In order to harmonize the provisions of this Act in Line with the United Nation Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Act has been reviewed and a new Bill namely Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 was finalized after extensive consultations with the Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/UTs and various stakeholders. Accordingly, the Department moved a Cabinet Note on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 to replace the existing Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 on 11.12.2013. The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 12.12.2013 approved the RPwD Bill. Subsequently, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 6th February 2014 and it was referred to Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee for examination. The Parliamentary Standing Committee.

9.                  International Cooperation
UNESCO organised an International Conference " From Exclusion to Empowerment: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Persons with Disabilities) in New Delhi from 24th - 26th  November, 2014 in association with this Department and Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Conference deliberated on various key issues such as challenges faced by persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge, technological solutions available to provide equitable access etc. The Department supported the conference not only from logistical point of view but also in the form of participation in exhibition, chairing/participating in different session of the conference

10.              District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs)
            To create infrastructure and capacity building at District level for providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to the persons with disabilities at the grass root level and for facilitating at the district level for awareness generation, training rehabilitation professionals theMinistry provides assistance for setting up District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs)  in underserved districts of the country.  Until March, 2010, 199 DDRCs have been sanctioned.  Out of this 185 such DDRCs are functional as on date.

            In the budget speech of the Finance Minister for 2010-11, it was announced that 100 new DDRCs would be opened during the remaining period of XI Five Year Plan.  Accordingly 100 under-served districts in 20 States were identified and concerned State Governments requested to send proposals for setting up new DDRCs. 

            The National Programme for prevention and control of Japanese Encephalitis (JE)/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the country prepared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare covers 60 priority districts of 5 States and inter alia approved setting up of 15 new DDRCs in the remaining high priority districts of 4 States.   Out of 15 new DDRCs 11 have been set up.  As on date 247 DDRCs have been set up. 

11.              Main activities of National Institutes
o Foundation stone laying of a building of Special Education and Disability Studies in premises of National Institute for the Visually Handicapped on 14.11.2014.
o Foundation stone laying of a  New Girls Hostel in the National Institute for Rehabilitation Training & Research (NIRTAR), Cuttack (Odisha) on 25.08.2014
v  Foundation stone laying for Hydrotherapy pool and athletic track was held on 26.9.2014 at National Institute for Empowerment of Person with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai.
v  Inauguration of 150 bed girls hostel at a cost of Rs.4.70 crores at SVNIRTAR, Cuttak on 25.08.2014
v  Foundation stone laying of new building of Rehabilitation  Centre (RC) at
o Srinagar on 18.06.2014 at a cost of Rs.3.00 crore.
v  Inauguration of Academic Block at National Institute for Mentally Handicapped (NIMH), Secunderabad at a cost of Rs.5.00 crore on 13.06.2014.
v  Foundation Stone laying of Sensory park at NIMH, Secunderabad at a cost of Rs.15.00 lakh on 13.06.2014.
v  Modernization of 10 existing and establishment of 15 new Braille Presses to augment production of Braille pages.
v  A total of 2252 PwDs have been imparted vocational training through the
o NHFDC and the National Institutes under the Department.
v  National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun successfully
o accomplished the task of publishing “Doctor Baba Saheb Ambedkar: Writing and Speeches” in Braille assigned by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment on 29.10.2014 in a function organized to release the four volumes of the series by the Hon’ble Cabinet Minister, Mr. Thawar Chand Gehlot, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
v  Department of Disabilities Affairs has approved the Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme (DACP) for the Medical Doctors working in the National Institutes. The implementation of the DACP Scheme will take effect from 21.10.2008.
v  All National Institutes have been implementing Swatch Bharat Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 2.10.2014
v  National Institute for Empowerment of Person with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai released book on Deaf Blindness on 26.9.2014
v  Hon’ble Minister inaugurated Disabled Friendly Website of SVNIRTAR in the National Institute for Rehabilitation Training & Research (NIRTAR), Cuttack (Odhisa) on 25.08.2014.
v  National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun has organized two Job Fairs – one at Sundernagar in Himachal Pradesh on 21.05.2014 and another at Dehradun in Uttrakhand on 28.06.2014. In this Job Fairs ten Private Companies participated. A total of 455 persons with Disabilities participated in the Job Fair and 74 persons with Disabilities got job with the Participating Companies.
v  National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun had developed Braille Course for Nepali, Garo and Khasi Languages under the North East Project.
v  Pt. Deendayal Upadhayay Institue for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi organized a job fair in collaboration with Sarthak, a Delhi based NGO on 19.6.2014 with a dual objective of sensitizing professionals about the capabilities of Persons with Disabilities and short listing eligible/potential persons with Disabilities for suitable placements.
v  Prime Minister Skill Development Programme being implemented through 50 NGOs across country by National Institute for Empowerment of Person with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai.
v  The Ministry in collaboration with UNESCO through its National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai organized the International Conference on Role of ICT for Persons with Disabilities and Screening of Films related to Disability  at Vigyan Bhawan,N. Delhi from 24th –26th November, 2014.
v  Hon’ble Minister SJ&E inaugurated the two days International Conference on Multiple Disabilities organized by National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai held at Vigyan Bhawan on 29.10.2014. Representatives of United Kingdom, Russia, United States of America, South Africa and Brazil  participated.
v  A three day National Conference is proposed to be organized in the Month of January, 2015 for the North-Eastern States on “Cross Disability Management”,by Rehabilitation Council of India.
·         Swami Vivekanand National Institute for Rehabilitation Training and Research,(SVNIRTAR), Cuttack has initiated action to modernize the existing Operation Theatre to Modular Operation Theatre under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding from REC.
·         Skill development for 15000 PwDs have been targeted under vocational training to be conducted by NHFDC and National Institutes.
12.       Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)

The Department of Disability Affairs is implementing a flagship Scheme, namely, Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) under which this Department has been providing grant-in-aid to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)   for projects relating to rehabilitation of persons with disabilities including Vocational Training aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal, physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric or social functional levels. There are 18 model projects under the Scheme. There are 66 manpower categories comprising 48 technical, 4 technical (part-time), and 14 non-technical categories. Following programmes are funded (upto 90% of the project cost) under DDRS for providing a wide range of services to children/persons with disability:

(a) programmes for pre-school and early intervention (b) special education, (c) vocational training and placement  (d) community based rehabilitation  (e) manpower development  (f) psycho-social rehabilitation of persons with mental illness  (g) rehabilitation of leprosy-cured persons, etc.

Under this Scheme in the year 2013-14 the total no. of Proposals sanctioned 978 for an amount of Rs. 63.64 crore. During the Current financial year 2014-15 a total of Rs. 27.05 crore has sanctioned as on 23.12.2014.

13.       Scholarship Schemes of the Department

During the year 2014, the following three new scholarship schemes have been launched by Department of Disability Affairs for the benefit of the students with disabilities:
1)        National Overseas Scholarship for Students with Disabilities,
2)        & 3) Pre-Matric Scholarship and Post-Matric Scholarship for Students with Disabilities,
The brief features of the schemes are given below:
(1) National Overseas Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

                        The scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for Students with Disabilities has been launched with the objectives of  providing  financial assistance to the students with disabilities for pursuing studies abroad at the level of Masters’ Degree and Ph.D. Twenty (20) scholarships are to be awarded every year out of which six are reserved for women candidates. The scholarship amount includes Maintenance Allowance, Contingency Allowance, Tuition Fees, and Cost of Air Passage etc.

In addition to the above, there is a provision of “Passage Grants” to two Students with Disabilities every year.  Only those Students with Disabilities  who are in receipt of a merit scholarship for Post Graduate Studies, Research or Training abroad (excluding attending seminars, workshops, conferences), from a foreign government/ organization or under any other scheme, where the cost of passage is not provided, shall be eligible. The Passage Grant includes to-and-fro air-fare from home-station to the Institute abroad by economy class through Air India. Applications have been called for and the process of selection is under way.

 (2)&(3) Pre-Matric Scholarship and Post-Matric Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

This scheme has been launched by the Department of Disability Affairs in October, 2014. The objectives of the schemes are to provide financial assistance to the parents of students with disabilities for studying in the pre-matric level and post-matric level. The financial assistance includes scholarship, book grant, escort/reader allowance, etc. Number of scholarships to be granted every year is 46,000 for pre-matric level and 16,650 for post-matric level. Selection of the beneficiaries under these two scholarship schemes is on the basis of merit after the recommendation of the Governments of State or Union Territories.  These schemes will be implemented on-line basis through a web-portal which is yet to be ready. The web portal is being prepared by NIC and Deptt. of Electronics & Information Technology.

14.       Awareness Generation & Publicity Scheme

 This scheme has been launched in September, 2014 and is operational from the current Financial Year 2014-15 onward. The scheme aims to give publicity to the schemes/programmes of the Government through electronic, print, film media etc., educate the PwDs and civil society about legal rights of PwDs, sensitize the employers on special needs of PwDs, promote awareness and sensitize society on causes leading to disability  etc. 
2.         (A)   The following types of organization are eligible :-

(i)       Self-help groups

(ii)      Advocacy and self-advocacy organizations.

(iii)     Parents & Community Organizations working for  mobilization and bring about change in social attitude

(iv)     Psychological and emotional support service

(v)      Community based rehabilitation organizations

(vi)     Organizations working for stress management and social isolation eradication

(vii)    Organizations working for labour market programmes,    vocational training, social insurance, providing support services to PwDs.

            (B)     Organization seeking grant should be a not for profit organization with 3 years standing as a society or a Public Trust and with good track record.
3.       The quantum of financial assistance and the content may be considered by the committee constituting of the following

 (i) Joint Secretary (Awareness Generation & Publicity), Department of Disability Affairs(DDA)
(ii)  Representative of Integrated Finance Division(DDA)
(iii) Representative of DAVP
(iv) A special invitee from amongst PwDs / representative groups/ organizations working in the field of disability
(v)  Director / DS (Awareness Generation & Publicity)
4.         Components admissible for assistance under the scheme includes setting up of a help line for online counselling of the PwDs, content development, publications and new media, organizing national events, participation in the international initiatives or to support various schemes organized by NGOs or self-help groups, volunteer service / outreach programme for sensitizing commercial establishment and employers, recreation and tourism, participation in community radio, media activities. 
5.         The budgetary provision during XII Five Year Plan for the scheme is  Rs. 50 crore. During current Financial Year, the budgetary provision under the Scheme is Rs. 3.00 crore.  So far, two meetings of the  Committee  for Grants under Awareness Generation and Publicity Scheme have been held where 43 proposals  have been considered under the scheme.
YEAR END REVIEW-2014 Department of Social Justice & Empowerment 

Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Young and Start-Up Entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes

Swachhta Udyami Yojana’ for financing viable community toilet projects and sanitation related vehicles to collect garbage

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014 passed

Draft National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction formulated
Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse revised w.e.f. 1.1.2015

(Department of Social Justice & Empowerment)

The Ministry of Social Justice &Empowerment (Department of Social Justice & Empowerment) is entrusted with the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. The Target groups of the Department are: (i) Scheduled Castes (SCs), (ii) Other Backward Classes (OBCs), (iii) Senior Citizens and (iv) Victims of Substance Abuse.

    Enhancement in Plan Outlay in 2013-14

There was an increase of 1.65 % in the Plan outlay of the Ministry from Rs.6065 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 6165 crore in 2014-15 The Plan Outlay allocated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment) has been enhanced from Rs 11655.20 core in the 11th Five Year Plan to Rs 29400 crore for 12th Five Year Plan.

In 2014, many initiatives were taken to empower these weaker sections as summarized below:

I. Scheduled Castes Development

               Amendments in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, to amend the PoA Act, introduced in the Lok Sabha on 16.07.2014. The Bill was listed for consideration by the Lok Sabha on 17.07.2014 and on directions of Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, the Bill has been referred to the Departmental Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examination and report.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014: The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014 to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in relation to the states of Kerala (inclusion of two synonymous castes), Madhya Pradesh (inclusion of one synonymous caste), Odisha (inclusion of four synonymous castes), Tripura (inclusion of three synonymous castes) and Sikkim (exclusion of one caste) was introduced in Lok Sabha on 11.08.2014. The Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on 27.11.2014 and 8.12.14 respectively.  The bill has been sent for assent of the President.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which proposes to include eight castes as synonym to Scheduled Castes in relation to the States/UT of Haryana(one), Karnataka(one), Odisha (six), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (one) and substitution of the name of the State from ‘Uttaranchal’ to ‘Uttarakhand’ was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 11.02.2014. The said Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examination and report. The committee in its sitting held on 26.11.2014 heard  views of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes , besides evidence of the Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and Registrar General of India.

Revision of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995: The Rules notified in 1995, were revised on 23.12.2011. Further amendment in the PoA Rules for enhancing the relief amount by 50% i.e. between Rs. 75,000/- to Rs. 7,50,000/- depending upon the nature of offences has been approved on 23.06.2014, and is under notification in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary.

Upward revision of financial norms under the Scheme of Grant-in-aid to voluntary organizations working for the SCs (last fixed in 1998): The Scheme has been revised and informed to the States/UTs vide letter dated 15th July, 2014. Following revisions have been made in the financial norms:
·                     Generally 100% enhancement
·                     Honorarium of teachers has been revised upward at par with the salary of teachers in Kasturba Gandhi Vidhyalaya.

Swachhta Udyami Yojana: As an integral part of `Swachh Bharat Abhiyan` launched by the Prime Minister on 2nd October, 2014, the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment launched a new Scheme ‘Swachhta Udyami Yojana’ of NSKFDC on 2nd October, 2014 for financing viable community toilet projects and sanitation related vehicles to collect garbage.

Setting up ‘‘Dr. Ambedkar International Centre for Social Justice’ at 15, Janpath New Delhi: The Government has approved setting up of the Centre at an approximate cost of Rs.195 crore at Janpath.  The architectural plan and design of Dr. Ambedkar International Centre has been approved by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on 20.11.2014.

The Government has also taken a decision to fully develop the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial at 26, Alipure Road, Delhi. The CPWD has already started preliminary work.  The architectural Plan has been approved by the Hon`ble Minister (SJ&E) on 27.11.2014.

Creation of ‘Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Caste Entrepreneurs’ Scheme: The Government has decided to set up a new Venture Capital Fund for SCs.  An allocation of Rs.200 crore has been provided for the Fund.  A scheme has been finalized in consultation with the IFCI.   The Standing Finance Committee (SFC) under the chairmanship of Secretary (SJ&E) was held on 03.12.2014 for appraisal of the proposed Scheme. Competent Authority has approved the Scheme. The fund would be operationalised during remaining part of the year 2014-15 onwards.

Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Young and Start-Up Entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes:

The Finance Minister in his Union Budget Speech for FY 2014-15 made on 10th July 2014, inter-alia, announced that a sum of Rs.200 crores will be allocated towards Credit Enhancement Gurantee for Young and start-up entrepreneurs, belonging to Scheduled Castes, who aspire to be part of neo middle class category, with an objective to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled Castes.

                                    The said allocation is under Social Sector Initiatives in order to promote entrepreneurship among the scheduled castes and to facilitate concessional finance to them.

The proposed Scheme and Standing Finance Committee (SFC) memo has been concurred on 17.10.2014 by the IFD M/o SJ&E. However, due to non allocation of budget under the Scheme SFC memo has not been circulated for inter-Ministerial consultation.

 Implementation of Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) Scheme:

      Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) vide ID dated 26.3.13 provided the list of 121 districts across the country selected for implementation of DBT. The necessary proformae in this regard were uploaded on the Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS) portal in mid February 2014. Having received the digitally signed digitized lists of beneficiaries forwarded by 8 States/ UTs and 15 Top Class Institutions, in respect of the 3 Scholarship Schemes of the Department in the Financial Year 3013-14, the Department of SJE could disburse Rs 1062.37 lakhs directly into the bank accounts of 45184 beneficiaries.
For the Financial Year 2014-15, till date the Department has been able to credit an amount of Rs 6.43 lakhs directly into the bank accounts of 9 beneficiaries. Around 15 proposals are in the pipeline where scholarships would be disbursed shortly through DBT.

Depository of the Scheduled Caste Certificates:
The persons belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) are entitled to admissible benefits under various Schemes of the Government.  Production of the SC Certificate is an essential requirement to avail the benefits meant for the SCs. It is thus a key document.  Complaints of fake certificates are also received from time to time. It would be a good idea to have a digitised data base of all the SC certificates, which could be linked with the Aadhar number for easy accessibility by the SC beneficiaries/Scheme implementing agencies. It would be very helpful to the genuine SC beneficiaries on one hand and also help to check the problem of fake certificates on the other.

                   Issuance of SC certificates falls within the domain of the States/UTs.  The department of Social Justice & Empowerment proposes to formulate a Scheme to provide technical and financial assistance to the States/UTs for preparing depository of Scheduled Castes Certificate.

II. Backward Classes Development

·         For the first time significant release of more than 90% of the budget amounting to over RS 1000 crore for the welfare of OBCs done before the end of third quarter.
·         National Fellowship for 300 OBC students (NF-OBC) launched. The rates revised from Rs 18000 per month for JRF to Rs 25000 per month and for SRF from Rs 20000 per month to Rs 28000 per month.
·         New scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for 25 OBCs (NOS-OBC) launched to enable the OBC students to pursue higher education abroad.
·         The norms for the “Construction of Hostels for the OBC Boys and Girls” revised with unit cost enhanced from Rs 1.40 lakhs per hostel seat to Rs 3.50 lakhs for North-east, Rs 3.25 lakh for Himalayan states and Rs 3.00 for rest of country. This will improve the quality of construction of hostels.
·         The scheme of “Assistance to Voluntary Organisations working for the Welfare of the OBCs” revised with focus on Skill Development.
·         The Ministry is forging partnership with Central Universities/Institutions to invite proposals and ideas for effective and innovative methods for monitoring, evaluating, creating databases and preparing reports for the welfare schemes.
·         E-tracking of loans in order to improve recovery initiated by the NBCFDC.
·         Skill Development training provided to 6460 beneficiaries. Further, stipend at the rate of Rs 1000 per month provided to the trainees for the first time.
·         The Recruitment Rules for strengthening the functioning of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) framed and notified.
·         A new website which is interactive has been launched by the NBCFDC.

Proposed Activities/Initiatives

·         The National Overseas Scholarship for OBCs will be revised to our 100 students in place of 25 students.
·         New Schemes for DNTs namely, Dr Ambedkar Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme for the DNTs,  Dr Ambedkar Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for the DNTs and Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme of Construction of Hostels to be launched for welfare of these sections of the society.
·         For Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), the Dr Ambedkar Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme and Dr Ambedkar National Overseas Scholarship are to be launched.
·          The DNT Commission will be made operational by appointing the Chairperson, Member and Member Secretary. 
·         National Fellowship for OBCs will be made available to 60 more    students.
·         100% release of fund under BC Schemes by January, 2014.
·         Development of e-Scholarship Portal for scholarships in order to avoid duplicity and increase the efficiency.
·         E-marketing of the products of the artisans to provide market value to them. 

                               III. Social Defence

Senior Citizens

Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons  (IPOP) :

The Ministry has been implementing the Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons  since 1992, with the objective of  improving the quality of life of Senior Citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active ageing through providing support to NGOs/ Panchayati Raj Institutions etc.  The Scheme was last revised with effect from 1.4.2008. The Cost Norms of the scheme have been revised which will be effective from 1.4.2015. 

Under the Scheme of IPOP, online processing of proposals of NGOs has been initiated from the current financial year (2014-15).  

The details of physical and financial performance of the Scheme during the current year (upto 30.11.2014)  are as given below :

Notional Allocation                                     :              Rs. 50.00 Crores

Funds released                                             :              Rs. 7.36 Crores

Beneficiaries covered                                     :              8945

Projects assisted                                           :                167

NGOs assisted                                             :                133

National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), 1999 :

The National Policy on Older Persons(NPOP), 1999  was announced in January 1999 to reaffirm the commitment to ensure the well-being of the older persons.  The policy envisages State support to ensure financial and food security, healthcare, shelter and other needs of older persons, equitable share in development, protection against abuse and exploitation and availability of services to improve the quality of  life of the senior citizens.  The Policy is being revised keeping in view the changes in demographic pattern, socio-economic needs of senior citizens, social value system and advancement in the field of science and technology.  The draft of the new National Policy for Senior Citizens is being finalized.

Celebration of International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) :

Every year, 1st October is celebrated as International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) by organizing a series of events.  In order to recognize the efforts made by eminent senior citizens and institutions involved in rendering distinguished services for the cause of the elderly persons, especially, the indigent elderly, the Ministry has notified a Scheme of National Awards (VAYOSHRESHTHA SAMMAN) in January, 2013.

On 1st October, 2014, the Vayoshreshtha Samman – National Awards for Senior Citizens under different categories were conferred by the Hon`ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha on eminent senior citizens and Institutions in recognition for their contribution towards the cause of the elderly.

            Inter-generational Walkathon was organized in the morning of 1st October 2014 in New Delhi and 20 other State Capitals ie., Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Shimla, Jaipur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Chennai, Kochi, Patna, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Agartala, Bhopal, Raipur, Shillong, Bengaluru and Puducherry. 

            A Review and improvement of the Scheme of Vayoshreshtha Samman ie., National Award for Senior Citizens is being undertaken.

Seminars and Conferences:

            A two days` Conference of State Ministers and Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of Social Welfare was held on 22-23 August, 2014 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.  The Hon’ble Minister addressed the gathering.

            The Ministry supported the 12th Global Conference International Federation on Ageing (IFA) on 10-13th June, 2014 at Hyderabad.  The Hon’ble Minister of SJE addressed the gathering.

            The Ministry supported the Multi Activity Event on “Jeevaema Sharadaha Shatam”  (May we live for 100 years)” Active & Healthy Ageing” organized by RRTC, Anugraha Delhi at Chinmaya Mission Auditorium, Lodhi Road, New Delhi on 16.10.2014.  The Hon’ble Minister inaugurated the workshop and addressed the gathering.

            The Ministry co-sponsored the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on  "India`s Elderly: Dignity, Health and Security"  held on 4th and 5th December, 2014 at New Delhi.    The Conference was addressed by Hon`ble Minister (SJ&E) and the Secretary, SJ&E

   Drug Abuse Prevention

                        The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment implements Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse under which financial assistance is provided to Non Government Organizations, Panchayati Raj Institution, Urban Local Bodies etc. for, inter-alia, running and maintenance of Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for addicts (IRCAs). Under this scheme, financial assistance up to 90% of the approval expenditure is given to the voluntary organizations and other eligible agencies for setting up/ running Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs). In the case of North-Eastern States, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir, the quantum of assistance is 95 % of the total admissible expenditure. So far an amount of Rs 17.89 upto 22.12.2014 in the financial year 2014-15  crore has been released under the Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse against the BE of Rs 50 crore.

Extent Pattern and Trend of Drug Abuse:
                     In a National Survey conducted by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, for the year 2000-2001(report published in 2004) it was estimated that about 732 lakh persons in India were user of alcohol and drugs. Of these 87 lakh used Cannabis, 20 lakh used opiates and 625 lakh were users of Alcohol. About 26%, 22% and 17% of the users of the three types respectively were found to be dependent on/addicted to them. The survey also indicated that other drugs such as Sedatives/Hypnotics, volatile substances, Hallucinogens, Stimulants and pharmaceutical preparations were also abused. It revealed that most users were in their early thirties, most had not sought treatment and very few were currently undergoing treatment.  In addition, regions of high prevalence of Opiate use were Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Western Rajasthan.  However the sample size being small (40,697 males within the age group of 12-60 years both in rural and urban areas) vis-a -vis the country’s population, the estimates can at best be taken as indicative only.
                     With a view to build a reliable data base and in view of the changing situation, it  was decided to take up another detailed round of National Survey, through a professional organization, like the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), to capture recent trends, patterns and extent of drug use in the country.  Accordingly, the NSSO had conducted a Pilot Survey in the cities of Amritsar, Imphal and Mumbai in March 2010. The NSSO brought out the report of the survey in January, 2011. After examining the report of the pilot survey, certain issues relating to under-estimates, non-coverage of certain age groups, limitation of pilot survey being confined to cities of Amritsar, Mumbai and Imphal instead of entire States of Punjab/ Maharashtra/ Manipur and non-coverage of other potential selection units such as, homeless/ pavement dwellers, street children, rag pickers, university/ college/ school campuses/ surroundings, highways/ roadside eateries, liquor vendors, etc. were raised. Therefore, a more comprehensive and extended pilot survey was suggested. 
                     At present, a Working Group has been constituted by National Statistical Commission with National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) as nodal organisation to devise the modalities of advanced pilot survey in the states of Punjab and Manipur and to conduct the same. The matter is also being pursued with National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) to expedite the survey proceedings. It is proposed to conduct a nationwide survey, based on the experiences gained during the advanced pilot survey. 
                     As the survey has been delayed and the problem is acute in Punjab and Manipur, the Ministry has also initiated survey work in these two States through Regional Resource and Training Centre (RRTC), Punjab & RRTC Manipur respectively involving All India Institute of Medical Science & Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal.
Awareness  Generation Programmes:
Earlier, in the year 2011-12, the Ministry had conducted an awareness generation programme in two states namely Punjab and Manipur which covered 3000 villages in ten districts of Punjab and 750 villages in seven districts of Manipur. This programme was conducted through the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. The addicts were identified and de-addiction camps were organized for these addicts. The total project cost was Rs 3.5 crore. Due to high rate of prevalence of addiction in Punjab, the Ministry has again assigned, in October 2014, an awareness generation programme in the State through Nehru Yuvak Kendra Sangathan.
Celebration of International Day against Drug Abuse Illicit Trafficking on 26th June, 2014.

This Ministry celebrates 26th June as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The Govt. of India has instituted a Scheme of the National Awards for outstanding services in the field of prevention of Alcoholism & Substance (Drug) Abuse from the year 2013. This year also, National Award function was successfully conducted on 26th June 2014 and awards were conferred by the Hon’ble President of India.

National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction
The draft National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction has been formulated and was uploaded in November, 2014 on the Ministry`s Website seeking comments/suggestions from all the stakeholders. Priority Areas of Intervention in the National policy for Drug Demand Reduction:
Education & Awareness Building at all levels.
Ø   Treatment and Rehabilitation (whole person recovery).

Ø   Networking of Service Providers.

Ø   Capacity Building & Training of service providers in the field of drug with a view to

         build up skilled manpower.
Ø   Data Collection and Management.

Ø   Inter-Sectoral Collaboration and International Cooperation.

Ø   The policy also proposes a system of accreditation of de-addiction Centres in order to standardise the treatment /facilities provided in coordination with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other stakeholders.

Revision of the cost norms of the Scheme of Prevention for Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse
         The present Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse has been revised w.e.f. 1.1.2015.

Issues Relating to Transgender Persons

M/o Social Justice & Empowerment has been designated as the Nodal Ministry for Transgender with effect from July 2012. An Expert Committee was constituted to make an in-depth study of the problems being faced by the Transgender Community. The Committee has submitted its report on 27th January 2014, suggesting various measures to ameliorate the condition of the transgender persons. The concerned Central Ministries and the State/ UT Governments are being consulted for their suggestions/views on the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and also confirm what action can be taken at their end.

         The Expert Committee has recommended that “Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment may set up a Standing Coordination Mechanism in the form of an Inter-Ministerial Committee for coordinating the welfare activities being undertaken by the various Ministries and State/UT Governments for transgender community comprising representatives of concerned Central Govt. Ministries and representatives of State Governments.” Accordingly, an Inter-Ministerial Committee has been constituted to discuss these issues.

         On 15th April, 2014, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has, in a Writ Petition No. 400/2012 filed by National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) delivered its judgement on the issues of Transgender Persons directing the Central and State Governments to take various steps for the welfare of the transgender community and also to examine the recommendations of the Expert Committee based on the Legal declaration made in the above said judgment. Till date three Inter Ministerial meetings have been conducted.           

The Expert Committee, inter alia, recommended formulating an Umbrella Scheme for empowerment of the transgender community. Accordingly, the Ministry is in the process of formulating an Umbrella Scheme for the welfare of transgender persons.

Scheme for Rehabilitation of Beggars/Destitutes

         The word beggar or beggary is not mentioned in any of the lists of the Constitution. However, as per entry-9 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, Relief of the disable and unemployable is a State subject. As per entry-15 of the Concurrent List,`` Vagrancy`` is a concurrent Subject. As information available, at present, 20 States and 2 UTs have either enacted their own Anti Beggary Legislation or adopted the legislation enacted by other States. Despite the fact that many States/ UTs have enacted laws relating to beggary, however, the provisions of these of these legislations differ across the Sates and their status of implementation including the measures taken for rehabilitation of beggars, are also not uniform.

                     A draft Scheme for Protection, Care, and Rehabilitation of Destitute is under consideration.

Skill development Training to youths

              Ministry of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports, Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Sport Authority of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi-110003 and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) is monitoring the progress in regard to the persons being provided skill development training to Youths vis-à-vis the annual target set for the Department for the year 2014-15. The target for the year 2014-15 was fixed at 82,750 for the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Department has provided the skill development training to 36480 youths till November, 2014 which is 44.08% through the training providers identified by National Institutes/ Corporation and State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. All out efforts are being made to achieve the target till the end of the current financial year 2014-15.

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