MP CM Chouhan promises to increase Laadli Behna cash assistance to Rs 3,000 per month

Married women over 21 years would also be included under the scheme, says CM

Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said that the monthly cash assistance to women under ‘Laadli Behna’ scheme will be increased incrementally to Rs 3,000, as funds become available in the coming days. As of now, the cash assistance under the scheme is Rs 1,000 per month.

Speaking at a mega event in Jabalpur to initiate the first monthly cash transfer under the scheme, Chouhan said that the assistance will be increased by Rs 250 at a time by arranging funds until it totals to Rs 3,000 per month.

Chouhan transferred an amount of Rs 1,209.04 crore to the bank accounts of about 1.25 crore women digitally on the occasion. He cautioned the beneficiaries that the money might reflect in their accounts with a delay of a day or two and they should not get worried. “If there is any technical glitch, it will be checked and corrected,” he said.

The chief minister did not fail to add that for this to become possible, the women have to support their brother (Chouhan) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, indirectly seeking votes in the upcoming Assembly polls. 

There are over 2.60 crore women voters in Madhya Pradesh, who constitute 48 per cent of the total 5.4 crore electorate in the state. The scheme seems to be covering a little less than half of all the women voters at this point.

Chouhan asked the women to be cautious of the Congress that closed down welfare schemes during its 15-month government and which calls him (Chouhan) a liar and makes false allegations against him, though the party itself continuously spews lies.

The opposition Congress has promised Rs 1,500 per month cash assistance under its Nari Samman Yojana when it comes to power. This was looked upon as a counter to the Laadli Behna scheme. Now, by announcing a gradual increase in the assistance under the Laadli Behna to Rs 3,000, Chouhan has clearly attempted to set off the poll impact of Congress' promise.

Not only this, the chief minister also said that the scheme eligibility will be relaxed and married women over 21 years of age will be included. Currently, married women aged between 23 and 60 are only eligible under the scheme.

Chouhan also said that his aim was to make all his sisters (women) ‘Lakhpatis’, earning an annual income of more than Rs 1 lakh within the next five years and this will be done through the self-help groups formed under Livelihood Mission.

The CM said that the mission of his life was to ensure the happiness of his sisters and this day was the happiest day of his life. He urged women not to cry or become despondent, and rather come out of their homes with courage, to bring change in their families’ lives.

He also asked all the beneficiary women to join the ‘Laadli Behna Sena’ – a brigade that will work at village level to ensure benefits of welfare schemes to the women, to protest atrocities against them, and to report any irregularities.

Earlier, he offered prayers at the Khermai temple in Jabalpur and reached the venue at Garrison ground in a short road show. On the occasion, the security of the CM was especially handled by women cops.

The chief minister also performed foundation stone laying ceremonies and inauguration of various development works worth Rs 335 crore. Stalls showcasing the developmental activities of 16 government departments and an exhibition of the brave women in history were also put up at the venue.

1 crore women already ineligible: Nath

Meanwhile, MP Congress chief and ex-chief minister Kamal Nath took a dig at the Chouhan-led BJP government over the scheme and alleged that rules for the scheme have been formulated in such a manner that already one crore women have become ineligible. “Just as they have sent recovery notices to the farmers under Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme (claiming wrong transfer of benefits), they will do the same in the name of Laadli Behna. The ones, who have made 22,000 false announcements and have gone back on their promises every time, are now remembering Laadli Behna at the time of elections,” Nath tweeted. 

He said that during the 18 years of Chouhan's rule, the condition of women in the state has been continuously deteriorating. Atrocities on (against) women have become the identity of the state and the condition is pathetic with regard to women's health indices. “Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is not only responsible for this whole situation, but it is their sin, and now the government is pretending to give some financial help to women to wash away this sin.”

Nath further went on to assure women they needn’t worry as Congress government will come to power in the state after five months. “We will give Rs 1,500 per month to sisters under Nari Samman Yojana. To give relief from inflation, domestic cylinders will be provided for Rs 500. The Congress government will waive the electricity bill up to 100 units and the electricity bill will be halved up to 200 units. The Congress government will also give you gifts like loan waiver for farmers and the implementation of old pension schemes. Whatever Congress promises, it fulfils it. The Congress governments in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have kept their word and done what they have said,” Nath said in the long tweet.

BJP spokesman Narendra Saluja hit out at Nath asking where did the Congress chief get the figure of one crore ineligible women. “A total of 1, 25,33,143 applications have been received under Laadli Behna scheme, of which 1.20 crore applications have already been linked to Aadhaar card and DBT (direct benefit transfer through bank accounts) and checks have been conducted by transferring token amount in their accounts. The applications with shortcomings will also be addressed soon. You may not praise the money coming into the sisters' account, but at least don't lie like this,” Saluja said.

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