Chief Secretary lays stress on women and child empowerment

JAMMU: The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today said that identification, rehabilitation and empowerment of the vulnerable/disadvantaged women and children in J&K have to be the sustained policy focus of the Social Welfare Department.

He made this observation in the course of reviewing the progress made by the department under UT capex in a meeting attended by Secretary and other senior officers of the Social Welfare Department.

The Chief Secretary directed the department to adopt community based dialogue, social and behavior change interventions and support through institutions for empowering vulnerable/disadvantaged women/children in the UT.

“The vulnerable/disadvantaged people should feel that if they approach the government, they will be looked after well,” he said.

Earlier Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Sheetal Nanda in her presentation said that the department will shortly launch skill development programmes for the vulnerable and disadvantaged women in collaboration with the Mission Youth.

It was informed that helpline for women in distress is functional 24×7 in J&K and on an average 150 calls are being received from the distressed women daily.

Secretary, Social Welfare Department, said that one stop centres have been set up in all districts for providing access to an integrated range of services including police, medical, legal, psychological support and temporary shelter to women affected by violence. The Scheme is funded through Nirbhaya Fund.

These centres are working in close coordination with Mahila Shakti Kendras in their districts, which are also empowering rural women through community participation by involvement of student volunteers.

It was further informed that social workers engaged by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)are working in different police stations in J&K to facilitate the vulnerable distressed/women in their interactions with the police officers in these police stations.

Dr. Mehta directed the department to conceive and roll out Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana for integrated welfare assistance for the disadvantaged women and children under an appropriate institutional framework, which also includes a provision for stakeholder’s feedback by 15th January, 2022.

The Chief Secretary directed the department to consider whether the department can step in to supplement/improve the efforts of these TISS engaged social workers for better results.

The Chief Secretary directed the department to roll out the scheme of assistance for the disadvantaged women in close harness with Mission Youth by 15th January, 2022.

Dr. Mehta further directed the Social Welfare Department to coordinate with Home Department for setting up more all women police stations in J&K.

He further said that old people with inadequate social support from their children or relatives also need to looked after and old age homes should be re-imagined as centers for one stop legal, medical and psychological assistance.

Dr Mehta said no one in distress/ or in need of help should be left behind.

He also directed the department to set up a 24×7 help line for the welfare of the old age people.

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