In any election, one word that one may expect to hear often is the word ‘poor’. The question is whether political parties, when they go for elections, have anything to apprise about the works done for the vulnerable sections, or are they just going to present yet another list of promises to offer. While searching for the answer to this particular question in the backdrop of Bihar assembly elections, the ruling alliance seems to be in a better position to list out many things that actually touched the lives of poor and vulnerable section in the state, thanks to various flagship schemes of the Narendra Modi government.
Poor Are the Beneficiaries
The uniqueness of these programmes is that it has added value to the lives of the beneficiaries on a daily basis. Every time she refills cylinder, whenever the message comes informing that his or her account is credited with PM Kisan installment, every morning when women members of the family use toilets built under Swachh Bharat scheme, the enrichment and the dignity brought into the life is quite evident.
The general election of 2019 has made it amply clear that these flagship schemes of the Modi government put together have obscured the caste factor that used to play a dominant role in elections a decade back. The fact that the rural housing, toilets, Ujjwala cylinders, Jan Dhan, and even Mudra have reached the needy irrespective of their castes apparently paved way for a unique voter base which can be called the force of beneficiaries.
Developments Touching the Lives of Poor
Now, Bihar can’t be equated with darkness as Saubhagya has achieved 100% household electrification. How it has eased the lives especially helping the next generation in education is anybody’s guess.
Having a roof over head is a big dream for poor. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana till September 2020 sanctioned more than 25 lakh houses for Bihar. 12 lakh houses already completed. More than 8.6 lakh PMAY houses sanctioned to landless households (landless casual labourers, July 2019).
Ujjwal has brought smile among 1.25 crore families of Bihar by providing them LPG connection. While this is also the story of women empowerment, Jan Dhan accounts have aadditionally achieved financial empowerment by creating 4.72 crore accounts in the state, most of the account holders are the women members of the family.
PM Kisan also helped more than 75 lakh farmers in the state.
Helping the Poor in Times of Crisis
Whatever the misinformation campaign the opposition may have tried over the migrant issue, the timely help that came from the Centre forms a fresh memory among a large number of migrant workers of Bihar. The government not only helped them with Shramik trains to return to their home states but also assisted the process of rebuilding lives through Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana.
The union government launched this initiative in June in 116 districts spread across 6 states which have received more than 25,000 returnee workers. It ensured them work under various schemes of the government. Bihar is the big beneficiary after Uttar Pradesh in this scheme as this newspaper headline acknowledged back then.
As on September 15, 2020 the scheme generated 4,24,61,946 man-days of employment spending ₹6,712 crores.
In another example of helping poor during Corona crisis, industry has spent an amount of ₹1,111 crore on Free Refill Scheme under PMGKY. Refills delivered against PMGKY Advance given to the Beneficiaries stands at 1.44 Crore.
All these events lingering on top of the minds will perhaps decide the course of this election.