NEW DELHI: On a day the Centre’s Saubhagya scheme recorded a coverage of 2 crores, out of the target of 3 crore households by March 31, 2019, a BJP-linked research group, in its impact assessment report, has stated that the beneficiaries have reported a number of changes, including enhancement in marriage prospects of grooms, better matrimonial relations of women with their husbands, and increased self-esteem of women with their in-laws.
The Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC), which is loosely affiliated to the BJP, in its report, which was released by the Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahashrabuddhe, stated that the Soubhagya scheme has brought about qualitative changes in the lives of the beneficiaries.
“We carried out field research in a number of villages in Madhya Pradesh, which completed 100 per cent coverage under the Saubhagya scheme. People in a number of villages in Guna, who struggled to find brides for their grooms earlier, shared their sense of glee at better marriage prospects of their children after their homes got electricity connections under the scheme,” Vidushi Sahani, a researcher with PPRC, said.
She listed out gains, one of which is that villagers don’t have to walk 50 kms each day to recharge their mobile phones. “In Kakadsela village, on the banks of the Narmada, villagers said they don’t have to spend a whole day travelling to a village, which was electricity, to get their mobile phones recharged. Earlier, the villagers could only use their mobile phones sparingly. Now, they can not only make better use of their phones but also access other mediums of entertainment,” Sahani said.
She said that the PPRC team came across a number of women in villages who shared their stories of improved matrimonial relationships since the time electricity at their households enabled them to get done with their chores early and spend more time with their husbands.
“The women are now more assertive in imposing their choices when it comes to watching television programmes. This marks a stark contrast from earlier days when they had to travel to nearby villages to watch such shows,” she said.