In a step towards women empowerment, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday, August 12, launched a sustainable livelihood model scheme for women of SC, ST, and backward communities.
The YSR Cheyutha (handholding) scheme, aimed at economically empowering the women of the socially backward communities, will benefit around 23 lakh women in the age group of 45 to 60 years. Under the scheme, each eligible beneficiary would be directly paid ₹18,750 per annum, aggregating to ₹75,000 in four years.
The amount can be used to start small businesses like a vegetable or grocery shop. The state has also signed MoUs with ITC, Procter & Gamble, HUL, Amul, Reliance and banks to provide entrepreneurship and business opportunities for the women who need assistance in starting their business units.
"When we talked of pensions from the age group of 45 years and above, detractors ridiculed the concept. After careful consideration, we have decided to provide financial incentive to women of that age group and also open up opportunities for entrepreneurship according to their convenience and it will continue for four years from our second year in office," the CM was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The government will spend ₹4,687 cores annually for the scheme. The money would be directly paid to the bank accounts of the women to ensure that assistance is not usurped by middlemen or other family members.
"Earlier, agencies meant for welfare of socially backward communities used to disburse loans but they would reach only one or two influential persons in a village of 1,000 population, leaving others high and dry," BC Welfare Minister C S Venugopalkrishna said.
"This scheme is different; it will ensure that the beneficiaries directly receive a financial aid that will open up opportunities for entrepreneurship starting from small grocery store to dairy and food processing and we are also showing the way for getting bank loans in their endeavour," he added.
The beneficiaries also have the freedom to spend the amount, which will be paid at the rate of ₹2,250 per month, however they want.