Lakhs of girls seek govt doles, UP budget sees crores deficit
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This exceeds even the budgetary provision for the scheme to provide free laptops and tablets to school students, which is the maximum for any populist scheme of the government, at Rs 2,721.24 crore.
The schemes under which the cash doles are given to girls are named Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana, Hamari Beti Uska Kal and Padhey Betiyan, Badhey Betiyan. Already, there have been allegations of arbitrariness in the selection of beneficiaries. Earlier this month, there were protests in several parts of the state by girls alleging pick-and-choose in selection of beneficiaries for Kanya Vidya Dhan and Hamari Beti, Uska Kal.
On December 10, while Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was distributing cheques in Rampur, hundreds of protesting girls were detained by police to prevent them from proceeding to the venue. At Sambhal, police even registered a case against girls for damaging posters of minister Iqbal Mehmood.
The Chief Minister had then declared that all eligible girls will be given financial assistance. But this is easier said than done.
Under Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana, girls who have cleared Class XII in 2012 are entitled to a one-time financial assistance of Rs 30,000 for pursuing higher studies, provided the annual income of the family does not exceed Rs 35,000.
In this scheme, the Secondary Education Department has received as many as 6,48,577 applications. For paying them, the government will need more than Rs 1,945.00 crore while the budgetary provision is only Rs 896.35 crore, which includes Rs 450 crore in the supplementary budget and Rs 446.35 crore in the regular budget.
Under Hamari Beti Uska Kal, girls from minority communities who have cleared class X in 2012 will be given financial assistance of Rs 30,000 for higher studies or marriage, provided the family's annual income does not exceed Rs 36,000.
Here, 1,12,566 girls have applied for the financial assistance which would cost more than Rs 337.00 crore. The budgetary allocation is only Rs 300 crore, which includes Rs 100 crore in the regular budget and Rs 200 crore in the supplementary budget. The Minority Welfare Department had fixed a target of benefiting 78,796 girls.
Padhey Betiyan Badhey Betiyan scheme is similar. It is meant for girls from BPL families who have cleared class X in 2012 and enrolled in the next class; they are paid Rs 30,000.
For this scheme, already 4.7 lakh girls have applied. "The number will increase as we are still receiving details from several districts," said Santwana Tiwari, Joint Director of Secondary Education. The budget allocation is only Rs 98 crore while paying 4.7 lakh girls will cost Rs 1,410 crore.
In all three schemes, the government has laid down certain conditions to restrict the numbers. For example, district officials have been asked to make the list of beneficiaries under Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojna in ascending order of their family income and make payment accordingly so that the budget is not exceeded.
For Hamari Beti Uska Kal, the benefit will be provided on the basis of 'first come, first served'. In Padhey Betiyan Badhey Betiyan, the Secondary Education Department has been asked to select the candidates by making their list in descending order of their high school marks.
However, applicants are unaware as the restrictions are not mentioned in the applications forms. In any case, the restrictions have become irrelevant after the Chief Minister's assurance.
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