Kolkata: World Bank has approved a loan of $125 million (around Rs 1000 crores) to the West Bengal government for inclusive social protection in what appears to be a major recognition of chief minister Mamata Banerjee's schemes of social pension to the vulnerable groups of the society.
On Saturday the state government said, "The foresight of Hon'ble Chief Minister, West Bengal, Smt. Mamata Banerjee and her earnest endeavour to identify the problems of the weaker sections of the society and redress them has paid a huge dividends. The World Bank on 19th January in recognition of these efforts of the State Government has sanctioned $125 million (about Rs 1000 crore) loan to the Government of West Bengal to support the state's effort to help the poor and vulnerable groups access social protection services."
It added, "The World Bank communique states that West Bengal runs more than 400 programmes which provide social assistance, protection, care services and jobs through an umbrella platform 'Joy Bangla', the State's unified delivery system with focus on vulnerable group such as women, elderly, tribal and scheduled caste, people with disabilities and those in the disaster-prone coastal regions. The unique 'Duare Sarkar' programme has been able ensure improved and faster identification of beneficiaries, providing service delivery at the doorsteps of the citizens and monitoring benefit delivery will get impetus under this World Bank assisted social protection scheme."
The loan under the "West Bengal Building State Capability for Inclusive Social Protection" operation will strengthen the capability of this state to expand coverage and access to social assistance and targeted service for poor and vulnerable groups of the state. This World Bank assisted programme will help the State in improved ease of access for citizens to avail social protection services; medical help through telemedicine; improved support for elderly and differently abled; financial inclusion of citizens with digital payments; improved targeting, identification and disbursement of benefits for the public schemes; efficient execution and monitoring of welfare schemes; standardized beneficiary experience across state for all public and social welfare services and benefits and enhanced efficiency, transparency and accountability in delivery of welfare services and benefits.
According to the state government, the loan will further provide impetus to its ongoing efforts to provide social security to the vulnerable sections of the population in the most efficient and transparent manner....