Special Correspondent

The scheme would bring socio-economic self-reliance to poor

Families to also get up to Rs.30,000 a year for medical treatment

JAIPUR: Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Tuesday announced launch of an ambitious Bhamashah Financial Empowerment and Women’s Prosperity Scheme to benefit over 50 lakh poor and disadvantaged families in Rajasthan, especially the women.

Ms. Raje told reporters after presiding over a District Collectors’ conference here that the scheme would bring socio-economic self-reliance to 21 lakh rural families living below poverty line, 32 lakh small and marginal farmers and a large number of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe families.

Ms. Raje affirmed that the “revolutionary scheme” would be the first of its kind launched anywhere in the country. She said she had announced a financial inclusion scheme in this year’s budget speech for the rural BPL families, while the new scheme would extend its benefits to other sections.

The families opening a bank account operated through a smart card in the name of a woman member will get an incentive of Rs.1,500, which will be deposited by the State Government in the bank.

Mr. Raje said the State had been able to convert large revenue deficit into revenue surplus as a result of “good performance” of her Government during the past four years.

“It is time to share the benefits of our financial turnaround with poor people of the State,” she added.

No better alternative

In addition to the financial inclusion scheme which will be implemented at a cost of Rs.750 crore, the poor families will also get up to Rs.30,000 a year for medical treatment in designated hospitals and transportation in cases of serious illness, injury or emergency.

“There can be no better alternative than the distribution of fruits of good financial performance among the poor and disadvantaged sections of society,” observed Ms. Raje.

The benefits of government schemes such as education vouchers, transport vouchers, payment under Janani Suraksha Yojana, old age pension and issue of identity cards to migrant workers will be passed to the information technology-enabled bank accounts opened for the beneficiaries.

The Chief Minister said a robust electronic infrastructure would be created in the State for implementing the scheme effectively. All panchayats will be connected to the State headquarters as well as the banking system, while all the entitled families will get a high-capacity 64 KB smart card.