The government will launch an extensive programme on Gandhi Jayanti to reach out to millions of rural Indians who have fallen through the cracks of a raft of welfare schemes, a move that comes amid the Opposition parties repeatedly attacking the ruling BJP for being “anti-poor”.
Under the two-month-long campaign kicking off on October 2, members of nearly 2,500 identified most-backward blocs will be enrolled for the MGNREGA job guarantee scheme, old age and disability pension plans, Indira Awas Yojana housing scheme as well as national rural livelihoods mission.
Data from the latest socio-economic and caste census (SECC) released this year show that in nearly 75% rural households, the income of the highest-earning member is less than Rs 5,000, a statistic that will help the government zero in on the needy and deprived.Sources say this will be the first time that various government departments will work in concert to extend help to the poor.
“The idea of the exercise is to not only to reach out to the poor through the SECC data but also link them to various government programmes,” a senior official said.
So those who figured under the “automatically included category” or were marked under the SECC’s “deprivation indicators” and were left out of various social sector schemes would benefit from this campaign launched by the rural development ministry.
The SECC relied on five automatic inclusion parameters, like a household without shelter or those from primitive tribal groups, to mark off a family as poor.
Similarly, there were seven “deprivation indicators”, such as a household headed by a woman with no working-age man.
The exercise would also enable the government to verify the SECC data and make any corrections if needed, sources said.
There may be cases where people have been left out of the “automatically included category” or have been inadvertently marked under the “automatically excluded category”. Such cases will be taken up and the SECC data revised, a government official said.