Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has blocked a statewide pension programme with more than five million beneficiaries pending an inquiry but ordered hikes in the payout under other schemes.
At a midnight meeting with senior officials, the CM ordered the Samajwadi Pension Yojana — the ambitious pension scheme of the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government — to be put on hold till it’s verified if the scheme was actually reaching the intended 5.5 million beneficiaries.
The pension scheme would now be known as ‘Mukhyamantri pension scheme’ — keeping with the chief minister’s directives to replace the word ‘Samajwadi’ from all government programmes with ‘Mukhyamantri (chief minister). The pension scheme provided for a monthly pension of Rs 500 to people below poverty line.
The 44-year-old leader also asked officials to increase old age pension from Rs 400 to Rs 1000. The widow pension too was hiked to Rs 1000. Disability pension too would be increased from Rs 300 to Rs 500, officials said, and the state’s handicapped welfare department would now be known as the ‘divyang jan kalyan vibhag’, in accordance with the term – divyang – coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the disabled.
The state government is likely to also start a ‘kanyadaan yojana’ where the state government would foot the bill incurred in marriages of women from deprived sections.
“There is a provision for financial relief for marriages of poor girls but the CM wants the government to hold mass marriage functions where girls from poor Dalit families are married. This would also ensure that families of these girls are not forced to give dowry,” an official said.
Lawmakers would be encouraged to select 20 poor women whose marriage cost would be borne by the government. These people would be married at mass marriage functions.
The CM asked the social welfare department officials to prepare schemes keeping the interests of the landless and poorest among the Dalits (ati dalits) in mind, sources said. All beneficiaries would be linked with Aadhaar by the social welfare department that would also be the nodal agency for tapping the corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund of corporate giants.
A social welfare board to look into the problems faced by the poor from the general category would also be set up. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Community Centres would be opened in Dalit localities. Land at subsidised rates would be provided to such Dalits who want to be job providers rather than job seekers.
Sources said the CM asked officials how much funds would be required to run welfare schemes for the OBCs, including the most backward. The BJP’s massive win in 2017 UP polls is largely attributed to the support party got from OBCs and Dalits.