Ten years ago, Sukesh Kumar, a matriculate, was preparing to become an insurance agent but was convicted by a city court for having committed a murder.
Two months later, in December, when 32-year-old Kumar’s 10-year jail term gets over, he would have to think of earning a lawful livelihood to support his parents and getting married — he worries.
But Kumar need not worry any more, thanks to a 150 per cent increase in the Rehabilitation Grant (RG) given to convicts by the state Department of Social Welfare (DSW).
The jail authorities would equip him with R25,000 — the sum given earlier did not exceed R10,000 — to help him earn an “independent livelihood” and stay away from crime.
Kumar, who took a six-month course in carpentry at the jail, has already planned how to utilise the money. “I am a competent sofa-maker, the entire set. I will hire a one-room shop, get carpentry equipments and make a beginning,” he said.
Kumar added, “I might need monetary loans from whatever friends I am still left with but the Grant’s sum will help indeed.”
Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna had ordered the increase in the RG, from a maximum of R10,000 to R25,000. According to the order, in order to avail of the RG a convict must have undergone a minimum of six-month jail term, apart from being a resident of Delhi and his family’s income should be less than R60,000 per annum.
“The hike in the rehabilitation grant will help convicts in beginning afresh and stay away from crime,” Tihar Jail spokesperson said, adding, “The grant is given in cash or cheque to a convict by the DSW.”
The RG’s eligibility criterion also requires a convict to have completed at least one modular course in vocational and technical skills that are taught inside the jail for the 11,000 inmates, including under-trials.
Instructions in 112 vocational and technical courses —including in carpentry, weaving (handloom and power loom), tailoring, chemical, paper, food processing, pottery, shoe making and bakery — are given at the prison complex; the courses’ duration varies from six weeks to 24 weeks.