As Madhya Pradesh anticipates the return of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the success of the female-centric welfare schemes introduced by his government is back in focus.
The earliest among these initiatives was the 'Ladli Laxmi Yojana,' providing financial aid to families upon the birth of a girl child.
Additionally, the 'Kanyadaan Yojana' facilitates mass marriages for girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, cutting across caste and religious lines.
The Ladli Laxmi Yojana, in particular, has catapulted Chouhan to immense popularity.
Launched with the aim of fostering positive perceptions of the girl child, this government-sponsored insurance scheme grants Rs 1 lakh to the girl once she turns 21, contingent on her not being married off before the legal age. The impact has been substantial, curbing child marriages, enhancing girls' education, and improving overall health outcomes.
Chouhan's administration also introduced a ground breaking cash incentive scheme to encourage women to opt for hospital deliveries. Millions of women embraced the incentive, resulting in a significant increase in hospital deliveries from 26 per cent to 70 per cent.
This initiative played a pivotal role in slashing maternal and infant mortality rates in Madhya Pradesh.
Another recent scheme, the 'Ladli Bahna Yojana,' targets financial assistance for young women with disadvantaged social backgrounds.
Launched on March 5, 2023, the 'Ladli Bahna Yojana' provides a monthly grant of Rs 1,000 to eligible women aged 23-60 years. This results in an annual deposit of Rs 12,000 in their bank accounts.
The enduring success of these welfare programs has solidified Chouhan's public image as 'Mama,' an image which even his political rivals cannot afford to ignore.
His accessible and amiable persona, coupled with the tangible impact of these schemes on the ground, makes Shivraj Singh Chouhan a formidable force in Madhya Pradesh politics, which was proven today once again.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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