The Chhattisgarh government’s strong focus on social empowerment schemes has started showing positive results. According to a report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Chhattisgarh has secured top rank in the country in fiscal year 2015-16, in terms of expenditure on schemes of the social sector. In 2014-15, the state had ranked second in this field. Chhattisgarh holds the first rank in the country with its highest budget provision of 15% (of GSDP) in social sector, whereas average of other states is a mere 7.4%.
‘PDS MERI MARZI’
In order to bring in transparency and accountability in the Public Distribution System (PDS), the state government has embarked upon computerisation of all the ration shops in Chhattisgarh. There are 12,354 ration shops in the state. About 11,858 ration shops (96%) have been brought online. The details of ration materials, date and other details are available on the website khadya.cg.nic.in/citizen. Any citizen can register on this website free of cost. Consumers can also send their suggestions and grievances. The consumer can also register through SMS and can get details of the truck number, quantity of ration material and timings.
The computerisation had been launched in March 2012 through Core-PDS and is being done on Android-based tablets since 2015. Details of Minimum Support Price of paddy are also available on this website. A toll-free Helpline 1800-233-3663 and 1967 facility is also available for settlement of grievances.
In fact, the state government has been implementing the “second generation PDS”, giving people the liberty to buy their ration from shops of their own choice.
According to Chief Minister Raman Singh: “That’s why we call it ‘PDS MERI MARZI’. One can go to any PDS shop and buy one’s quota of food grains as per one’s choice, using a smart card.
“In case the customer feels the quality of a particular item is not good, he can go to another shop. Right now, this service is limited to urban pockets. We will open more such shops in the days to come.”
The target is to provide domestic gas connections free of cost to 25 lakh families under Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the next two years under the Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Scheme. Customers have to pay a nominal charge of Rs 200. Women will get gas connections, double-burner stove and a cylinder free of cost.
Health Insurance Schemes
About 53 lakh “Smart Cards” have been issued to families under the National Health Insurance Scheme and Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme. The patients can avail of medical facilities at the 772 registered hospitals (318 government hospitals and 454 private ones). Unorganised sector labour is covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme. The families are covered for an amount of Rs 30,000 per annum.
Chhattisgarh Yuva Soochna Kranti Yojana
Under this scheme, final year students of medical and engineering colleges are provided free laptops and final year students of graduation and post-graduation are provided free of cost computer tablets.
The Chhattisgarh government has been at the forefront in taking initiatives to empower women in the state. The Centre has also helped the state governnment in its efforts to empower women. Among the recent steps in this regard is one in which Union Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi inaugurated on 16 July 2015 a “One Stop Centre” for women who have been victims of various kinds of violence. Gandhi, along with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, launched the Centre, touted as the first of its kind in the country, at the District Hospital premises in Police Line area in Raipur. Built at a cost of Rs 37.67 lakh, the “One Stop Centre” will take care of physical and psychological well-being of women who are victims of violence. The victims can seek help by directly walking in or by calling a toll-free number. The victims of rape, dowry harassment and domestic violence will get medical aid and help in filing FIRs, legal advice and psychological counselling. The “One Stop Centre” has a five-bed hospital and victims can stay there for 15 days during their treatment and counselling after which they will be shifted to women’s rehabilitation centre, if needed.