BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Monday announced to engage trained volunteers in areas within Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) jurisdiction to ensure that government benefits under different welfare schemes reach the poor in the Capital city.
The specially-trained volunteers called ‘Subidha Sakhis’, will help the urban poor in availing benefits of government’s welfare schemes, said BMC officials. Initially, around 100 volunteers, selected from different Mission Shakti groups, will be engaged as ‘Subidha Sakhis’ and technical support provided to them by Urban Management Centre, a civil society organisation.
The primary responsibility of the volunteers is to mobilise people and make them aware of various government schemes they are eligible for. ‘Subidha Sakhis’ will upload the details of the people in a special application installed in their mobile phones.
To pilot the initiative, the civic body organised a camp involving the volunteers in three zones of the city where community members were brought for correction of their Aadhaar cards. The Subidha Sakhis have been asked to maintain a database of eligible beneficiaries and number of welfare schemes under the State government’s 5T model of governance.
The move, however, is being seen by the Opposition parties as a political stunt of the BJD government to reach out to economically weaker sections of the society ahead of the ensuing urban local body elections in the State capital. Seat reservation and ward delimitation for the urban polls have already been initiated.
BJP Bhubaneswar district president Babu Singh alleged that the BJD government comes up with such moves to hoodwink people before the elections. “The State government should answer how many urban poor in Bhubaneswar have been extended benefits under Jaga Mission,” he said. President of Bhubaneswar District Congress Committee Biswajit Das also termed the initiative as a political move.
“The BJD government has come up with the initiative to hide its inefficiency and failure in implementing Smart City projects,” he said. On the other hand, the BJD leaders lambasted the Opposition for playing ‘petty politics’ over the initiative.