GIS - 08 August 2016: Empowerment is the bridge that has to be crossed if we want our poor to integrate mainstream society and access to education has proved to be a powerful tool of empowerment, stated the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, at the National Assembly on 5 August 2016 during debates on Budget 2016-2017.
According to the Minister, empowerment will be the backbone of Government’s interventions in the fight against poverty, adding that the provision of an income support, as provided in the budget will, undoubtedly, give a ‘soothing balm’ to those underprivileged and destitute. The income support is not unconditional, as it is subject to the beneficiary entering into a Social Contract for empowerment such as sending kids to school, joining skill development programmes and tapping employment opportunities offered to them, he pointed out.
Budget 2016-2017 gives special consideration for the fight against extreme poverty, with the concrete launching of the Marshall Plan Against Poverty that includes a variety of programmes and actions that interlock to assist and empower poor families.
As regards income support, the Minister qualified this measure as the most important one to alleviate households of Mauritius and Rodrigues, eligible under the Social Register of Mauritius (SRM).
In fact, Budget 2016-2017 makes provision for the introduction as from December 1st 2016, of a new scheme under which every adult on the SRM will be entitled to a monthly subsistence allowance based on a minimum threshold of Rs 2 720 with a maximum threshold of Rs 9 520 for a family of two adults and three children. This is higher than the current threshold of Rs 6 200 and an amount of Rs 500 million over the transition period of two years will be required to implement this measure.
The Minister announced that the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment will start a full-fledged survey during the second week of August and will last until the end of the month, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions. With regard to Rodrigues, the survey will start by the end of August.
Presently, there are 13,267 households in Mauritius and 1,400 households in Rodrigues registered and eligible in the SRM for support under the National Empowerment Foundation’s programmes and Child Allowance. A registration exercise is to be carried out to include eventual new beneficiaries.
As regards the setting up of the National CSR Foundation announced in Budget 2016-2017, Minister Roopun stressed that it will undoubtedly bring about more transparency and ensure that the CSR funds are being utilised judiciously towards the upliftment of the poor and their integration into the mainstream society. At the same time it will give a new impetus to private sector and the civil society to synergise their efforts and to participate actively in the nation building, he added.
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