With the 2014 LS polls barely nine months away, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP Government on Thursday rolled out another scheme to distribute free sarees and blankets to the women and elderly belonging to the BPL sections in the state.
Besides, the state govt has put in place the measures to fast-track the implementation of the scheme, under which the beneficiaries will get two sarees and a blanket. And a sum of `500 crore has been set apart for the saree-blanket scheme.
the SP had promised free distribution of sarees and blankets in its manifesto for last year’s Assembly polls. But the party had held it back so as to unveil it on the eve of the LS polls in order to derive the maximum political mileage.
Two days ago, a meeting of the state Cabinet chaired by Akhilesh gave its nod and the CM said that the Panchayati Raj Department would be the nodal department for the implementation of the scheme.
And a district-level committee headed by the District Magistrate has been set up to oversee the distribution. Also, it has been decided to purchase 60 per cent of the sarees from the samitis representing the weavers, while the remaining 40 per cent would come from the state and national agencies like the National Textile Corporation.
Meanwhile, there were initially some reservations from the Muslim community regarding the state government’s freebie since several women belonging to the community do not wear sarees. Hence, the administration would instead provide them with an unstitched piece of cloth.