Andhra hikes financial aid for Haj, Jerusalem pilgrims

People see-off their relatives outside Gaya Airport as they leave for Haj on Sept. 15, 2013 (Photo: IANS)

Amaravati, Oct 30 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday decided to hike financial assistance for Haj and Jerusalem pilgrims.

This was one of the several crucial decisions taken by the state cabinet at its meeting presided over by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Muslims going to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj and the Christians visiting holy places in Jerusalem will get higher financial help. The assistance for those with an annual income of below Rs 3 lakh will get Rs 60,000 against Rs 40,000 under the existing scheme.

The assistance for pilgrims with an income of over Rs 3 lakh has been increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000.

For increased assistance under both the schemes, the government has allocated Rs 14.22 crore each.

The cabinet decided to implement ‘Jagananna Amma Vodi’ scheme from January. Under this scheme, the government will provide Rs 15,000 every year to the mothers or guardians of children studying in schools or junior college.

The amount will be deposited in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The government has allocated Rs 6,400 crore for the scheme, one of the nine major poll promises of YSR Congress Party.

Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkatramiah told reporters after the cabinet meet that the scheme is aimed at reducing the illiteracy rate in the state which stands at 33%. The chief minister believes that the scheme will help cut the high dropout rate.

The cabinet also decided to increase salary of the sanitary workers in all hospitals from Rs 8,000 to Rs 16,000.

It constituted a mission to be headed by the Chief Minister to cleanse all the canals in Krishna and Godavari river basins.

Pregnant and lactating mothers and children from six months to six years would be provided nutritious food in 77 ‘mandals’ of the state. The government allocated Rs 305 crore including the Central subsidy for the purpose.

The state cabinet approved ‘Mission Build Andhra Pradesh’ and its integration with the Central government’s National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). The government will sell unused government properties and use the money for major welfare programmes for various infra structure facilities.

It also approved a programme ‘Connect to Andhra’ which will also be headed by the Chief Minister. This is expected to enhance the number of programmes under corporate social responsibility.

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