The SRM aims to maximise policy effectiveness in the fight against poverty and in the application of the housing schemes and day-care centres. It forms part of a core element of Government’s anti-poverty policy as announced in the 2012 Budget. The main objectives are to better target beneficiaries of social programmes; manage these programmes in an integrated way; better harmonise the criteria for social programmes run by Ministries; and analyse cyclical and structural poverty reduction policies.
According to Minister Kasenally, Government’s focus for the housing sector has always been to consolidate social housing schemes and put up new schemes for low and middle income families. He pointed out that the 2012 Budget lays special emphasis on social housing with a view to enhance the lives of vulnerable families through greater social justice and improve their living conditions. Those earning less that Rs 10 000 monthly, who wish acquire a housing unit must either register under the SRM or at the National Housing Development Company, he said.
He recalled that Government has sent a strong signal with regard to social housing programmes by allocating half of the 2,000 arpents obtained as a result of the Government/Mauritius Sugar Producers Association deal reached in the context of the sugar reform. Some 480 houses have already been delivered and currently some 270 service plots are available around the island.
While elaborating on the SRM, Mrs. Bappoo pointed out that the previous database covered the beneficiaries of social assistance schemes under her Ministry solely. The figures were incomplete because social programmes run by other Ministries/Departments were not included. Thus, the poverty line differed across the various Government programmes, she said.
According to Mrs Bappoo, the previous social safety net was heavily based on ad hoc welfare assessments to identify the poor and the database did not contain all relevant information for poverty targeting. It did not cover the poor who are not benefitting from social programmes, she added.
The SRM will allow a better redistribution of public funds by improving the efficiency of social transfers while at the same time alleviating poverty in Mauritius, she said.
For his part, Minister Dayal listed out the various social aids which aim at empowering the poor. Currently, there are 158 beneficiaries of day-care centre facilities and as at December 2011, the National Empowerment Foundation, which operates under the aegis of the Ministry Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, has disbursed some Rs 3.4 million for this social aid.
He pointed out that education is the only means of getting out of absolute poverty. Providing day-care centre facilities to those families who earn less than Rs 6 200 monthly, is a way of ensuring that children of three months to three years get the appropriate support and environment to grow, he said. According to Mr. Dayal, such facilities will also give mothers the possibility to get a job and consequently contribute to the family income.