Rs. 300 a month for families below poverty line

Will cost the exchequer Rs.1,100 crore, benefit around 3 million people

Beneficiaries must not be availing any other pension schemes

Lucknow: A monthly dole for Uttar Pradesh’s poorest of the poor — an ambitious scheme to be launched on Chief Minister Mayawati’s 54th birthday, a day that has become notorious for her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) celebrating it as a fund raising event.

But this January 15, Friday, will be different. Instead of getting flak for her party workers allegedly using the occasion to extort money, Mayawati will launch the Rs. 300 a month scheme for families living below the poverty line (BPL).

Top bureaucrats are busy putting final touches to the scheme, which will be formally launched at her official residence and will hopefully deflect focus from the many thousands of crores spent on memorials, statues and parks that have attracted widespread criticism, said an official.

This scheme would cost the exchequer Rs.1,100 crore and would benefit about three million people, he added.

“What is significant is that this would cover those who despite being poor were not receiving any financial benefit under various BPL schemes simply because they do not have BPL cards.”

The rider is that the beneficiaries must not be availing any other pension schemes.

While the old age and widow pension scheme also entitles the beneficiaries to a monthly pension of Rs.300, the burden is shared equally by the central government. “But this new scheme is to be funded entirely by the State government,” the official pointed out.

The State government, he disclosed, had been repeatedly urging the central government to include a large chunk of poor people who could not be given BPL cards — despite their being far below the poverty line — simply because of the limit on the number of BPL cards that could be issued by the State.

“However, in view of the central government’s continued silence on the issue, the Chief Minister decided to launch her own scheme so that a large number of otherwise deprived people could benefit,” he added. — IANS