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MP: Opposition Attacks Govt for Reducing Number of Women Beneficiaries in Ladli Behna Yojana

The Opposition has alleged that more than two and a quarter lakh women in Madhya Pradesh have been left out of the scheme

The newly elected Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh gave a front page advertisement in newspapers across the country and announced a deposit of Rs 1,250 in the bank accounts of the Ladli Behna beneficiaries, but by the evening, the Opposition dulled the shine of this advertisement and alleged that around 1.75 lakh beneficiaries had been omitted from the scheme. 

The war of words between the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the Opposition has intensified over the 'decrease' in the number of beneficiaries of the Ladli Behna Yojana, which played an important role in the BJP's major victory in the Assembly elections. Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan started this scheme. Under this scheme, the government gives Rs 1,250 monthly to women from families whose annual income is up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

While transferring Rs 1,576.61 crore to the accounts of 1.29 crore beneficiaries on Wednesday, January 10, 2023, Chief Minister Mohan Yadav accused Congress of spreading false propaganda regarding the scheme. All the Opposition parties, including Congress, said that a reduction of beneficiaries was being done in the scheme.

Congress Media Department Chairman KK Mishra alleged, "In September when Chouhan was the Chief Minister, the number of beneficiaries was 1.31 crore. Now that Mohan Yadav has become the new Chief Minister, this number has been reduced to 1.29 crore. The reduction started as soon as the government was formed."

CPI(M) (Communist Party of India (Marxist)) State Secretary Jaswinder Singh also issued a statement. 

"The government itself has said that in the true sense, cuts in the scheme were started only after the Assembly elections. Back then, the number of beneficiaries was 1.31 crore. In December, 1.58 lakh beneficiaries were removed. Obviously, the new BJP government will close this scheme in instalments."

BJP termed all these allegations  as false. Putting the 'facts' in front of the media, the BJP state president said, "The number of women included in the scheme till September 2023 is more than 1.31 crore. In January 2024, more than one lakh 56 thousand sisters crossed the age of 60. And they were left out of the scheme."

The ruling party claimed, "The difference in the number of Ladli Sisters between September 2023 and January 2024 is 1.75 lakh. In this, 18,136 sisters voluntarily abandoned the scheme and 154 died. Accounts of 804 women were removed due to them not being linked to Samagra ID or Aadhaar, and the names of 1,56,253 were removed as they crossed 60 on January 1, 2024." 

Responding to the government's counter, CPI(M) secretary Jaswinder Singh said, "The clarification of the government and BJP in this regard is also very ridiculous. The argument being made is that due to death and voluntary abandonment of the scheme and eligible women crossing the age of 60, this number has decreased. The truth is that only 154 beneficiary sisters have died."

The CPI(M) leader further said, "The government claims that 18,136 women have voluntarily given up this benefit. If they had to give up this scheme only after two months, they would have to stand in the queue for several days. Why did they join this scheme after preparing documents worth about Rs 1,000? This clearly shows that they were cheated out of the scheme."

Singh said, "The third argument is also ridiculous. The government says that 1,56,253 women have been left out of the scheme after crossing the age of 60. Even if we accept it, its other aspects should also come to the fore. Women aged between 21 and 60 years are eligible to get the benefit of this scheme. If one and a half lakh women have crossed the age of 60 years, then many lakhs more than that are 21 years old. They would have become eligible for this scheme. Not including them in this scheme is also an indication of closing this scheme."

CPI(M) has demanded that the benefits of the scheme be extended to every eligible woman and that the amount be increased to Rs 3,000 as promised.

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