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Govt revises timelines for speedy disposal of SMAS cases

Excelsior Correspondent

Jammu, Dec 6: To ensure speedy and effective implementation of the State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS) and deal strictly with inordinate delay in settling of cases under the scheme, the Government has revised the timelines at different levels on this account.
The Government today issued a circular, in modification to its earlier version, detailing the revised timelines as per directions of High Court in the matter.
According to the revised timelines, a period of three working days has been fixed for District Social Welfare Officer, six working days for Sanctioning Authority (Deputy Commissioner) while five working days have been fixed for Director Finance, Social Welfare Department to dispose of the cases under SMAS.
The Government has issued strict directions to all the concerned for ensuring strict adherence to the revised guidelines and, according to the circular, any deviation in this regard would be dealt strictly as per the law.
The scheme envisages one-time financial assistance of Rs 25,000 and five-gram gold from the State’s Social Welfare Departmentfor poor girls living below poverty line who may not find themselves in a position to marry due to financial constraints. The norms for availing benefit under the scheme include that the prospective beneficiary girl should be above 18 years of age and an identified poor girl in the survey list available with the concerned DDCs and DSWOs.
The scheme was launched in the State in 2015, with an objective of facilitating the poor girls with requisite financial support to enable them solemnize their marriages. Around 6589 beneficiaries, who were found eligible to receive the assistance as per guidelines of the scheme, have been brought under the ambit of SMAS upto 31st of August, 2017.
However, it was reported that there occurs delay in processing of the cases and the High Court had taken strong exception for not fixing timeline for disposal of such cases vide its order dated 13-06-2017.
The Social Welfare Department had also observed that substantial time is being taken for disposing of these cases before referring it to the administrative department for unknown reasons, which is defeating the objective of launching this vital girl specific scheme, where timely assistance has paramount significance.

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