Subhadra Yojana nears launch as Odisha prepares for major rollout

The previous government was implementing them at its own will. Malnutrition deaths in Nagada was for all to see.
Deputy Chief Minister Pravati Parida.
Deputy Chief Minister Pravati Parida.Photo | Shiba Prasad Sahu

Deputy chief minister Pravati Parida, who holds the Women and Child Development, Mission Shakti and Tourism portfolios, lists out her top priorities including the rollout of Subhadra Yojana within 100 days, creation of Lakhpati Didis and augmenting tourism infrastructure and facilities, in interview with Diana Sahu.

"You have repeatedly asserted that the Subhadra Yojana will be launched within 100 days as promised by the BJP. Have you finalised the modalities and a date for its launch?"

"Drafting of the Subhadra Yojana is in its final stage now. The WCD department is working on it and its modalities, eligibility will be decided soon. It will be rolled out before the new government completes 100 days. However, I want to point out here that many scammers are now assuring women that they can enroll them as Subhadra beneficiaries and seek their Aadhaar and bank account details. I want to tell everyone that when the scheme is launched, the government will make an announcement and a massive awareness drive will be organised through Mission Shakti members so that maximum number of women benefit from it. People should not fall into the trap of the fraud."

"The WCD department is a vital wing of the government as it concerns the welfare and development of women and children. What are your priorities as the minister?"

"All these years, I have felt that there are a lot of loopholes in the implementation of Central schemes for development of both women and children in Odisha. Consider the supplementary nutrition programme and POSHAN Abhiyaan that aim at improving nutritional status of adolescent girls and children. The previous government was implementing them at its own will. Malnutrition deaths in Nagada was for all to see. My priority will be to implement these two schemes at the grassroots in a time-bound and proper manner to ensure children do not suffer from malnutrition and adolescent girls get the right nutrition."

"Odisha has remained in the top of the list of states with high crime rate against women. What, according to you, needs to be done to bring down the crime rate and create a safe environment for women here?"

"This government has a zero tolerance policy towards crimes against women. I have been advocating for implementation of Vishakha guidelines for preventing sexual harassment of women at their workplaces. We will place this proposal in the cabinet. At the same time, there will be provisions for punishing those who bring false allegations. Secondly, we plan to strengthen the Mahila Sishu desks in all police stations and sensitise the police personnel to be women-friendly so that victims of rape and other crimes get the courage to report the crimes. I feel a woman is safe when she is aware of her right to justice."

"The creation of Lakhpati Didis is a flagship initiative of the Modi government. What is your target for Odisha?"

"Odisha will get 25 lakh Lakhpati Didis, all members of Mission Shakti, this year. We already have 7 lakh Lakhpati Didis and the remaining 18 lakh will be covered by the end of this year. They will be given skill development training in various sectors and hand-holding support in production and marketing to improve their income substantially."

"Odisha - India’s best kept secret - slogan of the previous government queerly has become a reality. The state’s treasures continue to be a secret as the foreign tourist footfall has drastically come down and tourism products are not promoted properly worldwide. What is the department’s plan of action for developing international tourism?"

"It has come to my notice that the roadshows organised in Singapore, Dubai and Thailand during the launch of direct flights have not contributed to Odisha’s in-bound tourism from these destinations. We will work on that but our focus for the time being will be domestic tourism. With Odia Asmita as our tagline, we will work on promoting Jagannath culture and showcase the beauty and heritage of Odisha’s villages. We are going to develop accommodation facilities at key destinations like Konark besides, Daringbadi, Koraput, Mayurbhanj which are known for their tribal and nature tourism. We will also be focusing on providing a conducive environment to research scholars who want to research about Odisha’s tourism and publish their papers in international journals."

"Domestic footfall in Odisha also has been mostly limited to Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark circuit despite the presence of several eco-tourism spots and tribal tourism products. What are your plans to make other destinations alluring for visitors?"

"Sadly, the tourism focus could not be shifted to spots like Mahendragiri, Chandrabhaga, Ratnagiri, etc., in all these years. Kerala promotes even its sunrise points but we have not been able to market our own sunrise point - Chandrabhaga. Government will work on developing these tourist spots and also explore modalities to promote tribal and rural tourism in the state."

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