In a significant move aimed at uplifting economically vulnerable families, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar unveiled the Laghu Udyami Yojana, a five-year scheme disbursing Rs 2 lakh to one member of each family. With an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore per year, the first installment of Rs 50,000 is set to be distributed to five lakh families in February, followed by an additional Rs 50,000 in April to 20 lakh families.
"Rs 2 lakh to a poor family to boost their income is a winning scheme," acknowledged a JD(U) leader, emphasizing the strategic electoral advantage of the program. The scheme, designed to promote self-employment and small enterprises, comes after a recent Bihar caste survey revealed that 36.1% of the population belongs to Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), and 19.65% to Scheduled Castes.
Despite criticism from opposition quarters, including concerns over funding and the exclusion of certain demographics, the Bihar government expressed confidence in the scheme's potential impact on poverty reduction. The move aligns with the government's recent emphasis on employment, illustrated by teachers' mass recruitment drives and job fairs held across the state.
With an annual budget of Rs 2.75 lakh crore, the government intends to address funding concerns through potential support from the Centre and strategic budget allocations. However, critics argue that the scheme lacks holistic considerations and may not sufficiently cover various vulnerable segments. The Laghu Udyami Yojana, viewed as a game-changer, signifies Bihar's commitment to socio-economic empowerment ahead of upcoming elections.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News writer, MIT ADT University