The State Assembly on Wednesday passed the Andhra Pradesh Bangaru Talli Girl Child Promotion and Empowerment Bill amidst walkout by Telugu Desam.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy slammed the TDP for being irresponsible and not participating in the debate on an important Bill that would touch the lives of women, constituting half of the State’s population.

He said TDP would go down in history for its callousness as it had skipped the debate and adoption of another important Bill, giving legislative cover to SC/ST sub plan.

Mr. Reddy said though initially the ‘Bangaru Talli’ scheme was for SC and ST girls only, it has now been extended to all Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

He regretted that some Opposition parties while welcoming the Bill, attributed motives of trying to get electoral advantage to the ruling party in the coming elections to local bodies.

The scheme not only confers certain entitlements and provides universal healthcare access to girl children, but a yearly pay-out on achieving well-defined milestones using Direct Benefit Transfer protocol. Earlier, piloting the bill, Women Development and Child Welfare Minister Ms Sunitha Laxma Reddy said the Bill was intended to help not just in education and healthcare, but in total empowerment of women. The scheme has become so popular that people started calling them “bangaru thallulu’.

Lok Satta member, Jayaprakash Narayan said vaccine against rubella that costs Rs.75 per dose should be included in the vaccination programme of the government. Administration of the vaccine alone would help save at least 30,000 of a total of 80,000 children who are born handicapped every year.