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Muneer: happy with portfolios

Staff Reporter
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‘Met Chandy to ensure coordination'

Social Welfare and Panchayats Minister M.K. Muneer said here on Saturday that he had met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to apprise him of the need for coordinating the functioning of some of the departments.

At a meet-the-press programme organised by the press club, he said, “I have not made a complaint against delinking some of the portfolios.” It was the Chief Minister's prerogative to allocate portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues.

He said the trifurcation of the portfolio of Local Self-Government and Rural Development would not lead to a crisis in implementing schemes at the level of the local bodies. The Chief Minister had said that a subcommittee would look into any such issues.

Dr. Muneer, who was elected from the Kozhikode South constituency and is a State secretary of the Muslim League, said he was “quite happy” with what had been allocated to him. “In fact, the Social Welfare Department itself was a heavy portfolio to handle, and it needs to be treated as a separate entity,” he said.

Besides, he would be in charge of the Kudumbasree Mission, the three-tier local bodies, and the Kerala Institute of Local Administration. One of his objectives was to build up the Kudumabasree Mission that had led to a silent revolution among 38 lakh women through various schemes.

Replying to a query, he said the mission, started as a pilot project in Malappuram, was a model for empowerment of women. It should be examined whether the mission had been politicised or not. In any case, it had successfully functioned under successive governments. The then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had launched the programme, had said that the model project could be emulated throughout the country. He said several organisations had floated their own women's welfare initiatives. The priority of the government would be to coordinate their activities. But the fulcrum would be the Kudumbasree Mission.

Announcements to wait

The Minister said he needed time to study the departments before making any announcements. However, the main concern of the government would be to secure funds from the Centre for implementing schemes under the National Rural Livelihood Mission and the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The idea was to make the dream of “Swarasreya Keralam” (self-reliant Kerala) a reality through rural development.

He said the schemes for anganwadis and the Ashraya project would be strengthened. Malnutrition in children would be detected. Nutritional supplements would be distributed to anaemic tribal people in Wayanad.

Likewise, the facilities at shelter homes and juvenile homes would be improved. The government would bring in guidelines for the standardisation of orphanages in the State. The Social Welfare Department would coordinate with the police to stop child labour and mafia gangs engaging children for begging.

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