Centre steps in to extend scheme for mothers to (Rahul’s) Amethi

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today decided to include Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar district,which loosely covers Rahul Gandhi’s Parliamentary constituency of Amethi,for a fully Centrally funded scheme.

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi | Published: May 11, 2012 9:17:17 am

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today decided to include Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar district,which loosely covers Rahul Gandhi’s Parliamentary constituency of Amethi,for a fully Centrally funded scheme. This comes after a redrawing of the map by the state government excluded Amethi from Sultanpur,the district originally chosen for the scheme.

Called Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (Indira Gandhi Maternity Benefit Scheme),the scheme provides pregnant and lactating women Rs 4,000 each in three instalments from the second trimester of pregnancy until the child is six months old.

In October 2010,the CCEA approved Sultanpur and Mahoba districts in Uttar Pradesh among the 52 districts in the country for the scheme’s implementation on a pilot basis. But earlier that year,the UP government created Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar district carving out three blocks from then Sultanpur district,Musafirkhana,Amethi and Gauriganj,and two from Rae Bareli district,Salon and Tiloi.

So Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi Lok Sabha constituency got excluded from the ambit of the project as the newly demarcated Sultanpur district comprised only three blocks of Sultanpur,Lambhua and Kadipur and none of Amethi.

Today’s CCEA decision brings all five Vidhan Sabha constituencies falling in Rahul’s parliamentary constituency under the scheme’s purview: Gauriganj,Amethi,Tiloi,Salon and Jagdishpur (Musafirkhana).

In the recent Assembly elections in UP,the Congress suffered a debacle in Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituencies winning only two out of the 10 Assembly seats falling under them.

“Uttar Pradesh government made a new district named Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar on 1 July 2010…When the note had been moved in the CCEA,the Ministry did not know about the creation of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar district,” said the Cabinet note circulated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).

After the meeting today,WCD Minister Krishna Tirath told The Indian Express that the CCEA approved the inclusion of only two additional blocks — Salon and Tilai — which were not covered under (old) Sultanpur district. Their inclusion would mean an additional expenditure of Rs 11 crore with 32,000 more beneficiaries,she said.

Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar will now be the 53rd district to be covered under the pilot project. Incidentally,the Expenditure Finance Committee recommended in May 2010 that implementation of this scheme on an experimental basis should be proposed only in 52 districts given the budgetary allocation of Rs 1,000 crore in the remaining period of the Eleventh Plan.

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