Ashok Gehlot government to launch state-wide campaign to expand the beneficiary base

He is likely to announce the campaign this week at a time when his government is facing fresh salvos from former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on not investigating corruption cases against the BJP Vasundhara Raje government

April 10, 2023 10:20 pm | Updated 10:20 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addressing the divisional-level workers’ conference, in Bharatpur. File

Congress leader and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addressing the divisional-level workers’ conference, in Bharatpur. File | Photo Credit: ANI

In a bid to highlight the “welfare model” of governance in an election year, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is going to launch a state-wide outreach programme to expand the beneficiary base of his government’s various schemes. Rajasthan goes for Assembly polls at the end of the year.

The campaign branded as “Mehangai Rahat Abhiyan”, that roughly translates as “inflation relief mission”, is likely to be launched this week, while his government is braving another storm, with former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot‘s fresh salvo at Mr. Gehlot, for not probing corruption cases against the previous BJP government under Vasundhara Raje.

As part of the campaign, according to sources, the government would hold 3,000 camps across airports, bus stands and panchayat offices, deploying a strong force of 30,000 government officials and 12,000 volunteers. The idea is to cut the red tape, enabling people to enrol for all the welfare schemes that they are eligible for and increase awareness about all government programmes. “Say for example, a person has only enrolled under one scheme, but is eligible for another two, she will be able to do it on the spot, using her Jan Aadhaar (Rajasthan’s version of social security number) number and a few documents. Our target is to do this as soon as possible and causing minimal discomfort,” a senior Rajasthan government official said.

The campaign targets to reach four crore individuals and a team of top bureaucrats has been constituted to monitor the project.

The latest initiative is in line with the Gehlot government’s emphasis on bringing in big ticket welfare policies ahead of the Assembly election, including the ‘Right to Health Bill‘, that promises emergency care for free of cost for everyone. The Budget that the government presented in February this year, the last for the Gehlot government centred around the slogan “Bachat, Rahat and Badat” (Savings, Relief and Growth).

Meanwhile, Mr. Gehlot and his Cabinet haven’t reacted so far on Mr. Pilot’s decision to hold a day-long fast, demanding investigations into the alleged corruption cases during the Vasundhara Raje government. Sources close to the Chief Minister said that this is a deliberate decision, to not provide more fuel to Mr. Pilot’s allegations. The Congress leadership in Delhi, too has backed Mr. Gehlot, by praising his government’s “many new initiatives”.

The statement issued by Congress general secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh, did not mention Mr. Pilot or refer to his demands. “The Congress government in Rajasthan with Ashok Gehlot as Chief Minister has implemented a large number of schemes and taken many new initiatives that have impacted the people profoundly. This has given the state a leadership position in governance in our country,” the statement said.

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