March 26 :“Ladli Laxmi Yojana” — a Madhya Pradesh government scheme aimed at turning the girl child from an unwelcome guest to a harbinger of wealth – has met with spectacular success since its implementation two years ago as the state now has about 2.22 lakh “Ladli Laxmis”.
Looking at the popularity of the scheme, the state government estimates that it would have to increase the current annual budgetary allocation for the scheme (Rs 145 crore) more than five folds in the next two to three years.
BJP’s PM-in-waiting, Advani, witnessing its success has resolved in his blog to implement the scheme across the country if his party gets to power in the Centre.
Under the “Ladli Laxmi” scheme, every girl child, registered as “Ladli Laxmi” before her first birthday, would get Rs 2,000 when she clears class V. When she sails through class VIII, the amount rises to Rs 4,000. On reaching class X, she will be paid Rs 7,500.
While studying in class XI and XII, she will get Rs 200 per month. And when she becomes an adult, she will get Rs 1 lakh, which can be used for her marriage or higher studies. The money comes from investment in National Savings Certificate made by the government in the name of the child. The child and a designated government official would be joint holders of the NSC.
The scheme has been cleverly crafted to ensure that it meets its objectives viz. improvement in sex ratio, higher women literacy, better health status of women and checking child marriages.
For one, only those parents who do not have more than two children are entitled to join the scheme and before registering their daughter(s) as ‘Ladli Laxmi”, they would have to adopt family planning. The final payment of Rs 1lakh will be made only if the girl appears (though not necessarily passes) in class XII examination and also does not get married before the statutory minimum age of 18 years.
“The reason why this scheme met with such a success was that instead of sermonising parents to treat boys and girls as equals, we adopted a more realistic and practical route,” says a senior functionary of the women and child development department that runs the scheme.