Social Welfare Department both at the Centre and in the State have been created to attend to social and individual disorganization which need immediate attention and prompt action. Social and individual disorganization lead to occurrence of problems like crime and delinquency, vagrancy and beggary, prostitution, destitution, Child Labour, atrocities on women, trafficking of girl child and women etc.The Directorate of Social Welfare was created by Govt. of Assam in the year 1960. The Directorate was made permanent with effect from 20-09-1965 and a full fledged Social Welfare Administrative Department was created on 19th September 1991.The role and responsibilities of the Social Welfare Department are destined to witness a phenomenal expansion in the coming years due to the heightened social awareness of the problems faced by children, women and physically challenged persons.This Department has the mandate to ensure proper care of the uncared, protection of the most vulnerable sections of the society and creation of an environment which is conducive to the all round development of children, women and physically challenged persons both by taking the caring and protective hands of the Government to them and by giving intensified fillip to the non- government initiatives aimed at reaching out to them.
Activities of the Department
(i). The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) : The ICDS Scheme was introduced in the year 1975 on experimental basis in the Duakuakhana Development Block in Assam along with 32 other blocks in the different states of the country
The objectives of the scheme are as follows:-
1. To improve the nutritional and health status of children below the age of six years and pregnant and Lactating mothers.
2. To lay the foundation for the proper psychological, physical and social development of child.
3. To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropouts.
4. To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation among various departments to promote child development.
5. To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutrition needs of the child through proper health and nutrition education.
(I ) Services envisaged are as follows
(i) Supplementary nutrition
(iii) Health checkup
(iv) Referral Services
(v ) Nutrition and Health Education
(vi) Early detection of child hood disability
The scheme is funded l00% by Govt. of India excepting its nutrition component. Cost of nutrition component is shared on 50:50 basis. Govt. of India has set forth norms of expenditure item wise. At present there arc 219 ICDS projects in Assam, out of which 196 projects are operational.
(ii) Kishorv Sakti Yojana (K.S.Y ) : Kishorv Sakti Yojana is implemented as a component of K'DS Scheme. The scheme was under implementation in selected K'DS projects blocks which are backward in all respects.
Govt. of India has of late. given signal to expand K.S.Y. Scheme to all the K'DS projects. Govt. of India selected the scheme, realizing the fact that adolescence is a crucial phase in the life of a girl child and it was felt necessary to address the nutritional health and educational aspects appropriately.
(iii) Supplementary Nutrition Programme (S.N.P.) in ICDS : Supplementary Nutrition Programme (S.N.P.)is implemented in the K'DS Project areas through the network of Anganwadi Centers. As per schematic pattern and guidelines, set forth by Govt. of India. the following category of beneficiaries are required to be covered in each Anganwadi Centre.
(a) Children in the age group 6 month to 3 years (both malnourished and severely mal-nourished)
(b) Children in the age group 3 years lo 6 years. (both malnourished and severely mal-enriched)
(c) Pregnant Women and nursing mothers.
(d) Adolescent girls.
(iv) ICDS Training ( UDISHA) : ICDS Training Programme project UDISHA was launched in the year 1999 for a period of five years and later it was extended up to 31st March 2006. The main objectives of the programme is to be impart job refresher and orientation training to the ICDS functionaries. The training curriculum and methodology are designed for skill development of functionaries as well as to enable them to acquire knowledge of various aspects of Child Development Works.
(v) Sawayamsidha: The Sawayamsidha is an integrated Scheme for Women's empowerment formally launched in 2001 replacing the erstwhile India Mahila Yojana and the Mahila Sambridhi Yojana. The programme is based on the formation of Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and enable the SHGs take up schemes and programmes for the social and economic empowerment of women.
The long term objective of the programme is to bring about all round empowerment of women by ensuring their direct access to and control over, resources through a sustained process of mobilization and convergence of all the ongoing sectoral programmes of Govt. and other agencies.
In Assam, Sawayamsidha Scheme is under implementation in 24 Nos. ICDS projects blocks 240O SHGs have since been constituted covering 58,500 women. About 1173 Nos. of SHGs are in nursing stage.
(vi) Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (N.P.A.G.-Pilot Project): Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls, a Pilot project, introduced in the year 2002-2003 with 100% Additional Central Assistance ( A.C.A.) aiming to :
1. Improve Nutritional and health status adolescent girls.
2. Provide nutrition and health education to the beneficiaries.
3. Empower adolescent girls through increased awareness to take better care of their personal health and nutrition needs.
The scheme is implemented through the A.W. Centres of the district identified for the propose. In Assam, Kokrajhar and Karbi-Anglong districts have been selected for implementation of the scheme. The adolescent girls of the community will be weighed and those found below the body weight less than 35 Kgs. will be given full food @6 Kgs per month for three months consecutively.
The process of weighing will continue four times in a year and thus on the basis of the body weight as mentioned above, issuance of live rice will continue for three months.
(vii) Handicapped Sector:
(a) Govt. H.D.S. Deaf and Dumb School, Guwahati provides special education facilities to Deaf and Dumb Students, both boys and Girls up to H.S.L.C. Standard. Teachers are trained with required skills and methods specifically devised for teaching this category of disabled students. The school has hostel facilities with intake capacity of 250 students.
(b) Blind School, Jorhat provides special education facilities to the Blind students (both boys and girls) up to H.S.L.C. standard. Teachers are trained in Braille method for imparting education to blind students. There is hostel facility and intake capacity is 150 students.
(c) Blind School, Basistha, Guwahati is an institution which caters to the educational need of blinds students. In this school too the educational curricular is up to H.S.L.C standard and teachers are trained in Braille method. The intake capacity is 100 students and the school is residential.
(d)The Blind School run by N.G.Os:
NGOs running schools for sightless and mentally retarded students receive recurring Grants-in-Aid from Social Welfare Department.
(e) Scholarship/Stipend to Physically Handicapped Students:
Physically handicapped students who are pursuing studies in the special institutions of the Deptt. institutions run by N.G.O's and also general schools and colleges are offered stipend.
(f) Braille Press:
A Braille press has been established at Basistha, Guwahati caters to the need of Braille text books for sightless students of the state.
(g) School For Hearing Impaired:
The School for Hearing Impaired was established at Jorhat in the year 1996. Intake capacity of students is 50 .
(h) Sheltered work-shop for Blind, Nagaon:
The sheltered workshop for Blind Nagaon offers training facilities to blind persons in different trades so as to make them skillfully capable to make an independent living.
(viii) National programme for Rehabilitation Persons with Disabilities (N.P.R.P.D) Scheme:
The National Programme for Rehabilitation Persons with Disabilities mooted by Govt. of India as a state sector scheme has been introduced in Assam in the year 2000-2001.
The scheme was funded by the Govt. of India by releasing additional Central Assistance till 2002-2003.
The aim and objective of the scheme is to provide clinical facilities to disabled persons, training and needed rehabilitations services to persons with disabilities through an extensive network of facilitating centres from State Level to Village level.
The four R.R.Cs are located at Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Silchar Medical College, M.M.C. Guwahati and Civil Hospital, Goalpara.
(ix) Health care for the aged Scheme:
The scheme was introduced in the year 2004-05. Primary objectives of the scheme is to take care of the people who have attained above 70 years of age and who need care. Financial Assistance is provided to aged people to enable them to purchase medicine.
(x) Mukhya Mantrir Jibon Jyoti Bima Achoni: Government of Assam has decided to continue the implementation of Mukhyamantrir Jibon Jyoti Bima Achoni w.e.f. 25th August. 2006 and Social Welfare Department was assigned to implement this.