The Social Register of Mauritius (SRM) and the Marshall Plan against Poverty were the main theme of a joint press conference which was held on 16th September 2015 in Port Louis.
Both the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, and the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, elaborated on the different aspects of the SRM and the Marshall Plan which fall under the purview of their respective Ministries.
Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo recalled that one of the priorities of Government is to assist vulnerable persons and give them protection and ensure that they live in dignity and respect. It is hence important to identify the poor and needy families, she said adding that at the level of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, a database - the Social Register of Mauritius (SRM) – has been set up since 2012 which lists out potential and actual beneficiaries of social programmes.
According to Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo work is ongoing to finalise the Register and a unique and centralised list of families will be available for easy access and consultation by Ministries/Departments. So far the compilation exercise, which is an ongoing process, has registered 7358 families through data provided by the National Empowerment Foundation (NEF). The Minister stated that the SRM is not only crucial to help provide assistance to those who deserve, but it also serves as a database to help Government prepare its allocation for resources and ensure that poverty and exclusion are gradually reduced and eliminated.
An outreach method has been adopted with NEF Officers meeting needy families and collecting data. Some 12 500 families have approached the authorities for assistance. From January till now, NEF officers have met needy families and collected data on around 9000 of those families. The data collected is submitted to the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, and as such 7358 have been compiled. At present some 2500 families are on the list which needs to be completed. This exercise will enable authorities know exactly how many people are living with an income of less than Rs 6200 and extend the necessary support accordingly.
For his part, Minister Roopun stated that data collected through the SRM will help in the elaboration of Government’s Marshall Plan which was announced in January 2015 to combat poverty and social exclusion in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
On that note he announced that a five-member multidisciplinary international team from UNDP is expected in the country as from next week in the context of the elaboration of the Plan. The first draft is expected in the coming months. A Marshall Plan Unit is already operational at the level of the Ministry and will help the team of experts by providing field data, he added.
Speaking about the Marshall Plan, the Mr Roopun outlined that it will cover social protection; social housing; social inclusion and community development; and employment and sustainable livelihood/economic opportunities, amongst others.
According to the Minister when we speak of poverty or exclusion it is not solely in monetary terms but in terms of facilities and opportunities. Now we are speaking of Sustainable Development Goals, which is the next development phase. The Marshall Plan is coinciding with this phase, he pointed out while stressing the importance of social mobility of people.