In the budget of Madhya Pradesh presented in the election year, special attention has been given to half of the population ie women. In the budget of Rs 3.14 lakh crore, it has been said to allocate almost one-third i.e. Rs 1.02 lakh crore to women.
For example, a provision of Rs 8,000 crore has been made in the budget for the state government’s new scheme ‘Laadli Behna’, under which women are to be given an amount of Rs 1,000 per month. The state government has recently approved this scheme through the cabinet, under which an amount of Rs 1,000 will be deposited every month in the bank account of women in the age group of 23 to 60 years.
The main reason for giving so much attention to women is the assembly elections to be held in December. Out of 5.40 crore voters in the state, about 2.60 crore are women. Among the 13.40 lakh new voters added this year, the share of women is also 7 lakh.
The importance of women in the upcoming assembly elections can be understood from the fact that soon after the budget, former Chief Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath said that if his government is voted to power, women would be given an amount of Rs 1,500 per month. Not only this, the ‘Mukhya Mantri Balika Scooty’ scheme has also been announced under which the government will provide e-scooties to girls who get first division in class 12. However, the amount allocated for this scheme has not been mentioned. Talking about other schemes related to women and girl child, a provision of Rs 929 crore has been made for Ladli Laxmi Yojana, while an amount of Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated for interest subsidy to self-employed women.
Economic affairs expert CA Jai Nagpal says that schemes like Ladli Bahna should not be considered as an attempt to woo voters as economic empowerment of women is still a big challenge in Madhya Pradesh. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also described the budget as favorable for women empowerment and self-reliant Madhya Pradesh.