The Bengal cabinet on Monday formally approved the basic income scheme for women heads of the state’s 1.6 crore households as well as the Rs 10 lakh credit card scheme for students going for higher education and the Duare Ration (doorstep ration) programme.
All three schemes were part of the manifesto released by Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in the run-up to the eight-phase polls and were credited with having been significant contributors to the Trinamool’s spectacular performance; the party won 213 to the BJP’s 77 seats.
The state cabinet on Monday formed a task force headed by chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to frame policy guidelines for rolling out the basic income scheme for female heads of households, the credit card scheme for higher education students and the Duare Ration programme.
CM Banerjee on Monday referred to the basic income scheme as “Lakshmi-r Bhandar” and pointed out that the cabinet approval for all three schemes came within a month of the Trinamool’s getting office for the third straight term. The task force will also include home, finance, education, food and civil supplies and women and child development secretaries.
State officials say the income scheme — giving Rs1,000 a month to every Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe family and Rs 500 to every general-category family — may provide significant relief for a large section of the population, especially with Covid making things difficult. Bengal’s monthly average household expenditure is Rs 5,249. The scheme will include every household from the SC and ST sections but will not support general-category households that have at least one tax-paying member or own more than two hectares of land. The scheme will require approximately Rs 12,900 crore every year and the amount will be deposited into bank accounts.
The credit card scheme will allow students going for higher education to borrow up to Rs 10 lakh at 4% interest payable over a 10-year period, with the government being the guarantor.
“This will allow students to pay back loans without burdening their parents,” Banerjee said on Monday.
Source: Times of India