The DMK government has scrapped the Amma Two-Wheeler Scheme, a flagship programme of the previous AIADMK regime aimed at enabling working women to purchase two-wheelers.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2018 on the occasion of the 70th birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the scheme provided every beneficiary a grant equivalent to 50% of the cost of a two- wheeler, or ₹25,000, which ever was less. An additional assistance of ₹6,250 was set apart for those who were disabled. Around ₹250 crore was allocated every year. Till March 2020, about 2.07 lakh vehicles were distributed under the scheme at an expenditure of ₹468.75 crore.
Confirming the decision, an official, however, pointed out that keeping in mind the requirements of women in general, a scheme for free travel on white board buses was being implemented since the DMK regime assumed charge in May. Around ₹703 crore had been earmarked for the purpose. Besides, transport corporations would get a subsidy of ₹750 crore for insulating themselves in the event of diesel price hikes.
Lauding the government’s measure, N. Dhanapal, a resident of Thirumanur village of Ariyalur district, said that prior to the launch of the free bus ride scheme, there were cases of women from his village and surrounding places who borrowed money from their friends or relatives to go to Thiruvaiyaru, about 6 km away, for working as labourers in agricultural fields.
Among the other schemes of the previous regime which have been axed or pruned are the free distribution of sheep, goat and milch cows to people living below the poverty line (BPL); solar-powered green houses; and the ‘Kudimaramathu’ scheme, envisaging the adoption of a participatory approach to restoring waterbodies. In the water sector, the government has proposed a few projects for the revival and rejuvenation of waterbodies. Over the years, the outlay for free distribution of sheep, goat and cows had been on the decline, and this was the case even in the interim Budget presented by the erstwhile AIADMK government earlier this year.
As regards the Comprehensive Accident-cum-Life Insurance Scheme, which was designed by the previous regime for the benefit of about 5.6 million breadwinners from BPL families, the official said it was being recast.
“Schemes for the benefit of students are being continued and improved upon. For example, the government is working on a scheme to provide tablets to students at an estimated cost of ₹670 crore, instead of the earlier scheme of providing laptops,” the official added.
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