How Bharuch achieved 100% under four welfare schemes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently praised the Bharuch district administration and the Gujarat Government for covering 100 percent beneficiaries in the district under four national schemes. The schemes are for widows and senior citizens and the district’s drive to enrol all beneficiaries was named “Utkarsh Pahel”.

Between January and May, Surat enrolled 13,431 beneficiaries (see table) under four schemes — Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Vrudhhavasta Pension Yojana (IGRVPY), Niradhar Vrudh Sahay Yojana (NVSY), Ganga Swaroop Arthik Sahay Yojana (GSASY) and Rashtriya Kutumb Sahay Yojana (RKSY).

The campaign saw the coming together of local BJP leaders and their team, the district administration and Ankleshwar Industries Association (AIA), a body of industries manufacturing chemicals, drugs, petroleum products, etc.

The AIA played a major role by identifying 305 youths and paying an incentive of Rs 250 to Rs 500 per enrolment.

Bharuch District collector Tushar Sumera said: “We started the drive by the name of ‘Utkarsh Pahel’ with WhatsApp helpline numbers to identify beneficiaries. We also shared information about the schemes at Samaj Suraksha office at taluka and district levels. Hoardings were put up at different locations and advertisements issued in the newspapers and local news channels. The response started coming in and we sent our teams to different villages in the talukas, to get the forms ofbeneficiaries filled.”

Sumera then reached out to the AIA seeking its help to hire youths who were Class 10 pass to help beneficiaries fill the forms. Such volunteers were called “Utkarsh Sahayaks”.

AIA president Ramesh Gabhani said: “We have also supplied 11,000 sarees to the district administration so that the beneficiaries could wear them to the Prime Minister’s event in May in Bharuch.”

Ankleshwar Nagarpalika president Vinay Vasava, who is from the BJP, held a camp at the Nagarpalika office premises on February 15, which is also his 34th birthday, and helped add 100 more beneficiaries fill the final forms.

“Usually I would celebrate by distributing fruits and clothes at old age homes and slums. This time, I thought of helping the poor not for one time, but a lifetime. So, I organised a camp at the Municipality (Nagarpalika) office and got the beneficiaries enrolled,” he said.

Bharuch municipality president Amit Chawda said: “BJP leaders of Bharuch district also joined the movement and played an important role in Utkarsh Pahel. People were under the impression that we were coming for votes or an election campaign, but we went to extend financial help through such schemes so they were happy and they blessed us.”

Mohammed Rafik Ismail Gothan (21), a resident of Dahej village in Bharuch district, is one such Utkarsh Sahayak. He holds a diploma in computer applications, and although he earns Rs 10,000 from a private job, he was happy to receive the incentive amount for his work. “I got an incentive amount of Rs 9,750 deposited in my bank account. This amount helped me a lot to celebrate our Eid festival and for the first time, I bought clothes for my parents and sisters and they all wore it on Eid (May 3). I was happy on that day, seeing smiles on the faces of my family members,” he said.

According to Deputy Collector Naitika Patel, Lalitaben Vasava (62) and her physically challenged daughter Reena (32) stayed in a hut at Pitha falia (street) in Ankleshwar and were so poor that they “did not have enough clothes to cover themselves”.

“We have covered both mother and daughter under Niradhar Vrudh Pension Yojana. Since March, they started getting Rs 1,000 each in their bank account,” said Patel.

Vasava, who hails from Vagra taluka in Bharuch, said: “The administrative officials have given us an identity… We got Rs 2,000 deposited in both of our bank accounts for two months. I am also growing old and this money will definitely help both of us in surviving… Now, we are happy, as we have started getting additional income through Utkarsh Pahel.”

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