A minimum of one lakh persons from Madhya Pradesh will ‘enjoy’ the benefit of state-sponsored pilgrimage every year with the State cabinet approving the ruling BJP government's new flagship scheme-the Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (Chief Minister Pilgrimage Scheme) on Thursday here.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had announced the scheme last week at his residence during an interaction with senior citizens (senior citizen “panchayat”) from across the State.

During the same meet, Mr. Chauhan had also announced the setting up of a senior citizens commission to look into the grievances of old-age persons.

Under the pilgrimage scheme, followers of “all the religions and communities can undertake journey to any pilgrimage centre of their choice”.

The 15 centres of pilgrimage it covers are-Badrinath, Kedarnath, Puri (Jagannath), Dwaraka, Haridwar, Amarnath, Vaishno Devi, Kashi, Tirupati, Ajmer Shareef, Gaya, Shirdi, Rameshwaram, Amritsar (Sikh) and Sammed Shikhar (Jain).

A minimum of one lakh persons would benefit from the scheme every year. According to the government, group applications would be accorded priority under the scheme.

The department of religious trusts and endowments will be the nodal agency for the scheme. A sub-committee will be constituted to lay down the rules for the scheme within a week.

The Madhya Pradesh government recently announced subsidies on visits to “pilgrimages” located in Cambodia (Angkor Wat temple) and Sri Lanka (Sita Mata temple).

The government will provide a one-time, 50% subsidy on the expenses incurred by the “pilgrim”, upto a maximum of Rs. 30,000.

The government already subsidises pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar (China-Tibet) and the Hinglaaj Mata temple and Nankana Saheb Gurdwara (both in Pakistan).