Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has unveiled a slew of social welfare initiatives targeting the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable sections of the population here on New Year’s Eve. The 10-point programme comes ahead of the assembly elections which is set to take place in May this year.
The programme attempts to bring more people under the ambit of social welfare initiatives and make a more sound and responsive social welfare net. One of the initiatives is that various services, including the provision of medicines, relief, and social welfare pensions, for elderly and physically-challenged individuals, will be provided at their doorstep.
The chief minister said, “In Kerala, the population of elderly people is on the higher side and most of them are living alone, with their children and relatives away. They find it difficult to get various benefits or bring their problems before the authorities.”
The program will integrate the functions of Local Self Government Institutions (LSGI), neighbourhood services, and voluntary services to bring the services to the doorstep of the elderly and physically-challenged.
Elected officials are also expected to visit the homes of those people and list their needs so that the services can be brought to them.
Other parts of the programme include doubling the number of counsellors available at government schools for the mental well-being of students, which hopes to reduce depression and suicidality.
A one lakh cash prize for at least 1,000 students who graduate from degree studies belonging to economically disadvantaged sections is also included in the list of initiatives.
A one-time rebate for initial building tax for environmentally friendly homes that are constructed using pre-fabricated materials and have not cut down any trees in the area.
Welfare economics has been at the forefront of the LDF government’s various initiatives during their 5-year rule.