The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday scrapped as many 26 welfare schemes and the policy of reservation in government contracts for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, launched by the previous Mayawati government, and approved a proposal to give a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 1,000 to those above 30 years.
The government also made changes in the Ambedkar village development scheme and renamed it after the late Ram Manohar Lohia. Selection of villages for development under the scheme will be made on the basis of certain criteria of backwardness, and not the population of Scheduled Castes, as was the practice earlier.
The decisions were taken by the state Cabinet, with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in chair.
Unemployment allowance will be given to those unemployed people who have passed matric, are above 30 years of age and registered at an employment exchange until March 15 of the previous financial year. It will continue until the age of 40 years, or until a beneficiary finds job.
Only persons whose family income does not exceed Rs 36,000 annuallly, and whose parents’ income does not exceed Rs 1.5 lakh annually will be eligible. The money will be paid lumpsum once every quarter. The decision is likely to benefit an estimated nine lakh people in the first year and cost the exchequer Rs 1,113 crore.
As for the decision to scrap 26 schemes, an official announcement said it was taken after consultation with all departments to make the best use of available resources for speedy and inclusive development. It will make available Rs 4,861.72 crore for priority areas of the government.
Most of the scrapped schemes were named after Dalit personalities, including B R Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshiram and Savitribai Phule. These dealt with urban development, housing, rural development, poverty alleviation, welfare of women and girl child, education, minorities welfare, social welfare and irrigation.
The most important among these were the Kanshiram Garib Awas Yojna for giving houses to the urban poor, Savitribai Phule Balika Shiksha Madad Yojan for giving financial support to school-going girls, and Mahamaya Garib balika Ashirwad Yojna for opening a fixed deposit for new-born girls belonging to BPL families.
The purpose of some of these schemes is similar to announcements made by the Samajwadi Party during the election campaign. Therefore, in all probability, such schemes will be tweaked and relaunched under new names, as has happened with the Ambedkar village development scheme. The decision to abolish reservation for SC and ST in government contracts was taken to promote competitive bidding and ensure quality.