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`Be the sun in someone’s dark sky’: How ISSS is changing lives of poor and marginalized in Kashmir

February 16, 2024

Srinagar: Mohammad Yaqoob, 70, thanked his stars when he was enrolled under the Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS).

A 70-year-old from Kamad, Anantnag, he is currently getting monthly financial support from the government.

Likewise, Nazir Shiekh, 45, from Sansuma Anantnag is also receiving assistance to support his family under the Integrated Social Security Scheme.

Nazir, a physically challenged, has also got a motorized tricycle from the Department of Social Welfare which is helping him to move hassle-free.

 Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) is a State Sponsored Scheme by the Social Welfare Department of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir where financial assistance is provided to Old Age Persons, Widows, Divorcees, Women in Distress, Transgenders, and Physically Handicapped Persons who either have limited or no means of source.

A pension of Rs 1000 per pensioner per month is deposited directly into their Bank account through DBT mode. Under old age pension, the applicant should be from a Priority Household/Antyodaya(PHH/AAY) family with 60 years of age for men and 55 years for women.

For widow pension, the applicant should be from a PHH/AAY family either being a widow or divorcee. For availing Disability pension the applicant should have more than 40% disability. For Transgender pension, the applicant should be from an NPHH/PHH/AAY family.

The scheme shall be submitted online along with all necessary documents to the Tehsil Social Welfare office through the Jansugam portal who shall verify the same within 15 days and recommend to the District Social Welfare officer or revert to the applicant in case of deficiencies.

Official data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor revealed that 420885 cases have been sanctioned in Kashmir under the  Integrated  Social Security Scheme in 2023. Baramulla tops the list with 72511 cases. Data revealed that 57803 were sanctioned in Anantnag, 25521 cases in Bandipora, 51546 in Budgam, 29665 in Ganderbal, 27285 cases in Kulgam, 67756 in Kupwara, 35246 in Pulwama, 9100 in Shopian and 44452 in Srinagar.

Tehsil Social Welfare Officer, Anantnag, Farooq Naikoo told The Kashmir Monitor that the social welfare department’s extensive awareness initiatives have succeeded in reaching saturation under the various ISSS scheme components. “We raise awareness throughout the district so that those in need can learn about the scheme and take advantage of it,” he said.

He also said that according to a recent amendment in the Integrated Social Security Scheme, even the Above Poverty Line (APL) category of physically challenged people can apply.

Assistant Director of Administration, Social Welfare Department, Tahira Tabasum told The Kashmir Monitor that the scheme has helped many by providing monthly financial assistance to the beneficiaries.

“The scheme is designed to help people who have no or meager financial support. The amount of pension for each category shall continue to be Rs 1000 per month unless revised by the Social Welfare department after due approval by the competent authority,” she said.

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Minzah Mehraj

Minzah Mehraj is a journalist based in Srinagar, Kashmir, and has covered health, education, business, and culture stories over the past 3 years. She holds a Masters and Honours Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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