The Chief Minister said that World Wetland Day is celebrated across the globe each year on 2 February. A state-level function would be organised at Rewalsar Wetland in Mandi district on Friday, he added.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu formally launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Sukh Ashraya Yojana’ from the Ridge Shimla on Tuesday.
This scheme aims to provide comprehensive support to orphans, specially-abled children, destitute women, and elderly individuals in the state.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said a thought always came to his mind to serve the most vulnerable section of society and those who needed to be taken care of by the government.
“In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, my government took a decision to adopt the orphans, the specially-abled children as the ‘Children of the State’ and work for their upliftment and well-being, giving them all parental care, besides taking care of the destitute women and elderly who have no one to look after”, he said.
The Chief Minister distributed financial benefits worth Rs 4.68 crore to eligible children which includes Rs. 15.52 lakh for fees and other hostel expenses, along with Rs. 11.52 lakh as monthly expenses benefiting 48 orphaned children for pursuing higher education.
Apart from this, Rs. 7.02 lakh for fees and Rs. 4.08 lakh for monthly expenses were also distributed to 17 orphaned children enrolled in a few professional courses.
He also transferred financial benefits to 1106 beneficiaries through foster care and sponsorship, amounting to Rs. 2.65 crore. Besides, 30 meritorious 12th class students from Child Care Institutes, who had excelled in 10th class, were provided laptops.
In the second phase of the initiative, 268 students from the 10th and 12th classes will receive laptops. He also allocated Rs 6 lakh to three beneficiaries for the establishment of small and micro-industries.
He said that under the Sukh Ashraya Yojana, approximately 2,700 newly identified orphans living with relatives will also get monthly financial assistance of Rs 4,000 until the age of 27 years.
Besides, the scheme also incorporates a 15-day educational tour annually for the orphan children and their stay in three-star hotels. The air travel and all other expenses will be borne by the government.
Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will also receive Rs. 10 thousand as apparel allowances, Rs. 500 as festival grant and a marriage grant of Rs 2 lakh.
“For higher education, children are eligible for financial assistance of up to Rs 1 lakh and a monthly pocket money of Rs 4000. Furthermore, grants of Rs 2 lakh will be provided to support orphan children in establishing small or micro-industries for self-employment,” said Sukhu.
Encouraging the Children on the occasion, the Chief Minister exhorted them to work with sincerity, determination, and hard work, as these were the keys to success.
For the construction of a house, the landless orphaned children will be provided financial assistance of Rs 3 lakh and additionally three biswa of land in the rural areas and two biswa in urban areas.