To bring about a larger say for eminent citizens and civil society in the functioning of welfare homes under the departments of Social Welfare and Women and Child Development, the Delhi Cabinet on Monday approved the setting up of Management Committees for both.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who chaired the Cabinet meeting, said this decision would help in involving committed citizens in guiding, supervising and monitoring the running of these homes.

Under both these departments, there are 26 welfare homes catering to various vulnerable groups like children, elderly, mentally retarded, destitute women, beggars and leprosy-affected. The Chief Minster said the Capital also has several statutory homes.

Stating that these homes were being run through permanent staff available in the departments and posted from Services Department, the Chief Minister announced it has now been decided that management committees would be constituted in all these homes under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) or designated Additional District Magistrate concerned. The Superintendent of the home concerned will function as convener whereas District Medical Officer and District Social Welfare Officer will be nominated as official members.

Most importantly, she said, there will be three non-official members from among the eminent citizens, social workers, non government organisations and civil society to bring about transparency and greater accountability in their functioning. Also, two of the three nominated non-official members would preferably be women.

The Chief Minister said that the committee would be required to meet at least once a month and prepare a quarterly report on the recommendations made and action taken. The tenure of the committee will be two years.

The functions of the management committees would include improvement of infrastructure of homes, sanitation and general cleanliness. They would also work towards skill development and vocational training of inmates, in addition to reviewing health status, nutritional status and recreation facilities.

The committees would also be responsible for ensuring proper water supply and electricity, compliance with basic standards of food, clothing and bedding. They would also double up as grievance redress mechanism and would have the authority to employ persons in case of staff shortage.

These committees are also expected to improve the delivery mechanism.

The Delhi Cabinet has also approved a proposal to switch over release of old age pension to the banks. Earlier, this pension was being released through post offices.

The Chief Minister said while 213,000 pensioners were already receiving their pension through banks, the remaining 80,677 beneficiaries would also be given six months time to open their accounts in banks. In all, she said, about three lakh destitute women above the age of 60 years were being provided a monthly pension of Rs 1,000 under the Old Age Assistance Scheme.

The shifting of the accounts to the banks would also help the pensioners make use of the smart card facility that would be extended to them under Samajik Suvidha Sangam.

In yet another decision, the Cabinet also recommended proroguing the sixth session (Winter Session) of the 4th Legislative Assembly of Delhi to the Lieutenant-Governor. The session had commenced on November 23, 2010, and the House was adjourned sine-die on the December 1, 2010.

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