- Written by Dr. M.K.Muneer - Minister for Social Justice
No right thinking person would have a speck of doubt that the tenure of the present Government in Kerala witnessed a bunch of tremendous new initiatives and their fulfillment to the best satisfaction of all Keralites especially to the common man. I am happy that the Departments of Panchayats & Social Justice have been in the forefront of transforming Kerala by deepening its democratic decentralization process, women empowerment and extending social justice to all with special care for the marginalized sections. We started with strengthening of the Panchayat Department and LSGD Engineering Wing by creation of 3000 new posts so that the Department could effectively carry out its activities benefiting the common man without delay. Women empowerment programmes entered into a new era of achievements through the Kudumbashree enhancing its membership to 42 lakhs with massive inclusion from marginalized sections and starting of Genderpark and its off Campus Project - She taxi.
Kudumbashree is now resource centre for other Indian States and some developing countries for poverty eradication and women empowerment; so also KILA for training for successful implementation of Panchayatiraj process. There are about 33 lakh persons in the State who receive welfare pensions who are in the category of aged, differently abled, widows, unmarried women above fifty years, agricultural labourers, unwed mothers etc. Monthly amount of their pension is about Rs.240 Cr. We have introduced a scheme of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) so that the monthly pension reaches to the individual accounts of the Beneficiaries. They would get a strong identity and can receive pension just like salaried classes receive their salary. ‘Nirbhaya Policy’ was one of the first policies of the Government. for combating atrocities against women and children, child trafficking and rehabilitation of victims and establishment of fast track courts. Nirbhaya Shelter Homes to a great extent are effective in rehabilitation. Nutrition policy, Policy on differently abled , Policy on women and empowerment, Policy on third gender, State Government. Policy on welfare of elder people and child policy followed. Setting up a Child Rights Commission, Integrated Child Protection Society, 140 3G Model Anganwadis, curriculam for Anganwadi, enhacement of remuneration for Anganwadi Workers & Helpers have been landmark achievements in child development. An official national rapid survey placed ‘Kerala-role model for child development’.
I am happy that the Departments of Panchayats & Social Justice have been in the forefront of transforming Kerala by deepening its democratic decentralization process, women empowerment and extending social justice to all with special care for the marginalized sections.
A massive disability survey was conducted under State Initiative on disability. The survey has identified 23 different types of disability and the Govt. can intervene early for checking disability. Strengthening of Local Level Committees under the National Trust Act has gone a long way in protecting persons of mental and physical challenges and their properties. Our Responsibility to Children prevents children from deviant behaviour and psychosocial counselling through 700 qualified Counselors in Schools impact counseling to adolescent students. NISH is being upgraded as a University. The Kerala Social Security Mission had a stellar performance with nearly 600 free cochlear implantation surgeries, per month assistance of Rs.525 each to bystanders of 63,000 bedridden people, ‘Snehapoorvam’ scholarship upto college studies for those children numbering 50,000 who lost their parents, vayomithram for elderly, cancer suraksha to children, pension for renal and haemophilia patients etc. A two lakh strong 'We Care volunteer' corps will be put in place soon. ‘Jagrathasamithis’ have been made mandatory by Law. Gramasabhas, Sevagrams and Ayalsabhas would further strengthen democratic decentralisation process. The Departments of Panchayats & Social Justice have organized several International Conferences viz International Conference on Deepening Democracy, on Rights Based Development, Kudumbashree International Conference and International Conference on Gender Equality. The ideas emerged out of these Conferences point to the direction that Kerala’s future course of development be based on rights. Many State Level, National and International distinctions were conferred upon these Departments during this period. The off campus project of Genderpark - She taxi (developmental intervention ) , Chottanikkara Gramapanchayat (modernization, new initiatives aimed at efficient service delivery) Asraya at Kollam (hassle free assistance to mentally and physically challenged including children) have been selected for Chief Minister’s Award for best initiatives. Kila and Kudumbashree as national resource centres and continuous awards for best performing State for implementing Panchayatiraj activities from Government. of India also come in the stretch of recognitions. Minister for Panchayats & Social Justice received two International awards for his lead role in the initiatives and realization viz the UK - Kerala Business Forum Award in London and the Common Wealth Local Government Forum Award. The coming years ahead for the Department of Panchayats will be on RIGHTS BASED DEVELOPMENT and that of Social Justice on a COMPASSIONATE KERALA ( kanivinte keralam ).