Shivraj’s ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ becomes a game-changer for BJP in MP polls

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Just a few days after polling ended in Madhya Pradesh, the incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said cryptically in a public address that the record voting in the state (which was an all-time high of 76.22 per cent) has ensured that ‘ladli bhenas’ have removed all thorns in his path for another term.


The bumper results, in which the BJP is poised to win more than 160 seats in the 230-member state assembly, are being read by many political commentators as an endorsement of the flagship scheme and its impact on women voters.


Pollsters’ data show that almost 50 per cent of the women voters voted for the ruling BJP, which was almost 10 percentage points more than the opposition Congress and six percentage points more than male voters. So what is this marquee scheme that experts are citing as one of the main reasons why Shivraj Singh managed to beat anti-incumbency of more than 18 years?


Launched on March 5, 2023, just months ahead of the Karnataka elections which the ruling BJP lost comprehensively to the Congress, ‘Mukhyamantri Ladli Behna Yojana’ promised a handout of Rs 1,000 per month to all eligible women in the state without any counter-guarantee.


The scheme, which borrows its contours from several such ongoing initiatives in the states, promised to deliver the amount to all women residents of the state aged between 23-60 years directly into their Aadhar-linked bank accounts, subject to certain exclusion criteria such as family income being less than Rs 250,000 per annum, not having a taxpayer or government servant in the family, and not currently receiving a similar dole from the government.


The scheme was an instant hit, and within just a few months, over 1.3 crore women enrolled in the scheme, and the first tranche starting from June 2023. Massive camps were held across the state to enroll the eligible beneficiaries, in which women were employed. Very little paperwork and easy accessibility are among the standout features of the scheme.


The Madhya Pradesh government raised the amount under ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ to Rs 1,250 per month and has promised to raise it to up to Rs 3,000 in tranches over a period of time.

The scheme’s success in bringing back the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh could force the Centre to devise a similar DBT-based disbursement ahead of the 2024 General Elections, just as it has done for PM-KISAN and state top-ups.


  • ‘Mukya Mantri Ladli Behna Yojana’ promises a cash handout of Rs 1250 per month to each eligible women beneficiary (till September it was Rs 1000 per month)

     

  • Around 1.32 crore women residents of the state have enrolled for the scheme since March 2023.

  • The first tranche was released in June 2023

     

  • Women aged between 23-60 years are eligible for the scheme subject to certain criteria such as family income not being more than 250,000 per annum etc

     

  • An initial budget of around Rs 8000 crore has been set aside for the scheme, official records show.

     

  • The scheme requires very minimum paperwork and applications were invited to massive enrollment camps organised across MP.

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