GIS – 08 December, 2016: Eradicating absolute poverty is a daring objective and the Social Integration and Empowerment Bill is all about empowering the needy instead of assisting them, said the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, on 6 December 2016 at the National Assembly.
The Minister was summing up debates on the Social Integration and Empowerment Bill which was voted with amendments.
According to Mr Roopun, the road from assistance to empowerment is not an easy one and requires a lot of determination and willpower. ‘We will have to make the poor our partners; motivate and encourage them, through empowerment programmes, designed as per their specific needs, to recover self-esteem, practice self-help, and apply the social skills needed to build a better future’, he stressed.
The main objective of the Bill is to promote social integration and empowerment of persons living in absolute poverty within the philosophy of Government to enhance social justice and national unity.
The Bill provides for the setting up of empowerment programmes and schemes to encourage the extreme poor to move out of the poverty trap and facilitate their integration in mainstream society.
The Social Register of Mauritius (SRM) will provide the database for enforcement of the provision of the new legislation which also defines the role and function of the National Empowerment Foundation. Set up since 2012, the SRM lists out potential and actual beneficiaries of social programmes.
Beneficiaries will be required to enter into a social contract with the relevant authority.
It is recalled that Government is committed to promote social justice, eliminate extreme poverty and give equal chances to people of different levels of social development. To that end, a medium to long term Marshall Plan to combat poverty and social exclusion in Mauritius and Rodrigues, is being elaborated. The Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment is leading the preparation of the Marshall plan, with the UNDP providing technical assistance.