To provide safe and convenient accommodation for working women, the Social Security, Women and Child Development Department has decided to construct seven new hostels with a cost of Rs 50 crore for working women throughout Punjab with daycare facilities for their children.
Terming this decision as second gigantic endeavor of the department towards women empowerment after obtaining 33 percent reservation in government jobs for them, Social Security, Women & Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary informed that these fully equipped specialized hostels would be constructed in Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Mansa, Barnala, Ludhiana and Amritsar in a first phase and these would cater those women, who are working in far-flung areas away from their homes.
Remaining districts will be covered in the next phase, she said, adding, the land for Mohali hostel has been allotted, while funds for Jalandhar hostel released and proposals for Mansa and Amritsar hostels have been received which are under process. Likewise, grants for remaining hostels would be released in the next financial year. She said that an estimated budget of Rs 50 crore is required for the construction of these hostels in various districts of Punjab on the line of metro cities. She said that 9 hostels for working women are already running in the state.
During a press conference here at Punjab Bhawan, Chaudhary elaborated that 50% subsidised fare for all women in state-run buses, which was delayed due to COVID crisis, would be implemented soon. She said that earlier this facility has been provided to women after reaching the age of 60.
The minister said that the process of constructing two government run old age homes in district Barnala and Mansa at a cost of Rs 5.56 crore each is underway and the funds for constructing these old age homes have been released to Public Works Department. While, one government run home is being run in district Hoshiarpur, 50 NGO run old age homes are running in the state under Senior Citizen, Welfare and Maintenance Act, wherein 1409 senior citizens are residing, she added.
The Cabinet Minister said that financial assistance of Rs 1,695.93 crores have been disbursed to 25,54,473 beneficiaries of old age pensions, widows and destitute women, dependent children and Persons with Disabilities up to the month of November 2020. The Minister said that during this financial year, 1,22,274 new beneficiaries under pension schemes have been incorporated. She said that apart from this, financial assistance of Rs.8,000 per month has also been provided to Acid Attack Victims to make them self-reliant and total 24 beneficiaries have been given benefit under this scheme.
Mrs. Chaudhary said that during Covid-19 pandemic, disbursement of pensions was made through banks in rural and urban areas in all districts. Banks have further disbursed pension amounts on the doorsteps of the beneficiaries through their Business Correspondents/Post Offices by strictly adopting social distancing protocols.