MUMBAI: Amid concerns raised by the Opposition about the long queues of applicants for the state’s new Mukhya Mantri Ladki Bahin Yojana for underprivileged women, the state government announced on Tuesday that the age limit has also been extended from 60 years to 65 years.
The Mukhya Mantri Ladki Bahin Yojana was announced in the state budget and is patterned on the Madhya Pradesh government‘s Ladli Behna Yojana.It provides a stipend of Rs 1500 a month for married, divorced, widowed, deserted and destitute women whose annual family income is below Rs 2.5 lakh and who are domiciled in the state. Earlier, the scheme was meant for women between the ages of 21 and 60.
On Tuesday, the government announced a series of changes to the scheme in the state assembly. “Even if the application is received in August, those cleared for the scheme will receive benefits from July 1,” said chief minister Eknath Shinde. He also said that the condition those with a family land holding of 5 acres would be excluded, had been dropped.
In case, the applicant does not have an income certificate showing Rs 2.5 lakh household income, she will be allowed to furnish a yellow or orange ration card instead. The state is also planning to include one eligible unmarried woman from a household to the scheme.
While speaking in the state assembly, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar also announced that in case the applicant did not have a domicile certificate, she could use a 15-year-old ration card, voter ID card, school leaving certificate or birth certificate.
In the case of women who are born in another state and are married to a man domiciled in the state, they will be able to use their husband’s domicile certificate, birth certificate or school leaving certificate to apply for the scheme, Pawar told the state assembly.
“We do not want our sisters to stand in long queues and suffer while applying for the scheme,” said Shinde.
In Madhya Pradesh, the scheme was considered a game-changer which resulted in the BJP returning to power in the state. It was introduced in the Mahayuti government’s last budget before the state assembly polls in October. The state budget stated that the scheme would cost the state Rs 46,000 crores.