The Goa government on Monday told the Bombay High Court at Goa that it will forthwith release all pending payments to the beneficiaries under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme (DSSS), especially those registered on account of disability.
In an affidavit before the High Court Director of Social Welfare Umeshchandra Joshi admitted that there was ‘some delay’ on account of the Directorate of Accounts failing to release the money as well as on account of the pandemic.
“The delay in crediting the amounts towards the beneficiaries of the said scheme from September 2020 till date has been on account of delay on the part of the Directorate of Accounts in release of the amounts in favour of Directorate of Social Welfare. It is reiterated that upon receipt of the amount towards financial assistance in terms of the said scheme from the Directorate of Accounts, money is forthwith credited in favour of the beneficiaries, and there is no delay in the same. I say that prior to the pandemic, amounts pertaining to the DSS scheme were credited in favour of the beneficiaries in a timely manner, each month,” Joshi told the High Court.
The Bombay High Court at Goa had instituted a suo motu public interest litigation petition after it received a letter petition from the Disability Rights Association of Goa pointing out that the monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 which the State Government in terms of its scheme was paying to the poor and needy persons with disability has not been paid for the last five months.
In response, the State in early February said that an amount of Rs 27 crore was released to the Directorate of Social Welfare for disbursal to the beneficiaries.
According to the affidavit, the Directorate of Accounts released money to the Social Welfare Department only in December onwards with August payments reaching in December, September payments reaching in January, October, November and December payments reaching in February while January payments were yet to be released.
The Department claimed that the money was credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries within a few days of the money being received.
There are 1,37,488 beneficiaries under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme. Out of these, almost 11,480 persons are beneficiaries under the category of persons with disability
Diasbled persons are entitled to a stipend of Rs 2,000 per month while disabled children with a disability less than 90 per cent shall be entitled for monthly financial assistance of Rs 2500 per month and a person with disabilities 90 per cent and above is entitled for financial assistance of Rs 3500 per month under the scheme.
“According to us, steps are being taken to make timely payments to the beneficiaries under the scheme, which includes persons with disability. The Director of Social Welfare and the Director of Accounts have assured us that payments will be made regularly. The grievance of the Disability Rights Association of Goa stands substantially redressed and, therefore, we dispose of this petition by accepting the statement made in the affidavit as an undertaking to this court,” a bench of Justices M S Sonak and Bharati Dangre said.