In UP, a brand new, silent voter class: beneficiaries of welfare schemes

* During the last 5 years, Govind Das and household obtained Rs 1,20,849 of their financial institution accounts underneath the PM housing scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission, PM-Kisan, as Covid help by the Central and state governments, and in lieu of his kids’s college mid-day meal. In addition to, he has been getting 35 kg foodgrains at subsidised charges, and free foodgrain in the course of the pandemic months, amongst different advantages.

* From Mahoba district, Geeta Devi Shriwas and her household have obtained Rs 1,52,000 of their financial institution accounts over an identical interval underneath the housing scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission and PM-Kisan. In addition to, the household has been getting foodgrains at subsidised charges and different pandemic measures.

* In the final 5 years, Ramashankar’s household, from Chitrakoot district, has obtained Rs 1,54,000 of their financial institution accounts underneath the housing scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission and PM-Kisan, as help to girls Jan-Dhan account holders, and in lieu of his kids’s mid-day meal.

The home Bhairav Vishwakarma constructed with the Rs 1.20 lakh that he bought underneath the PM Awas Yojana. (Specific picture by Harikishan Sharma)

Das, Geeta and Ramashankar stay miles aside in UP’s rural Bundelkhand and belong to totally different castes, but are certain by a typical thread: they’re all beneficiaries of presidency welfare schemes and speak about how, from a brand new electrical meter to a rest room, they’ve seen and felt change of their lives.

In an election with few certainties and the place caste and faith typically dominate discourse, the labharthi varg – or beneficiaries of presidency welfare schemes – has change into, to the BJP, an emblem of the “double engine” it hopes will blunt anti-incumbency.

The Indian Specific tracked down a number of beneficiaries, checked their official data, to search out that the majority have witnessed a number of firsts of their lifetimes: a-brick-and-mortar home; a rest room; LPG cylinders; a checking account. Whereas this labharthi varg emerged with the launch of Direct Profit Switch schemes in 2013, the numbers have gone up since then because the variety of schemes went up. As an example, the Indira Awas Scheme (IAY), which has been in operation since 1985-86, was restructured because the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin in April 2016, after which the scheme noticed a large spike in numbers.

Manoj Kumar Singh, Extra Chief Secretary (Rural Improvement), Uttar Pradesh, mentioned, “In the last five years, 26.5 lakh houses have been built under the scheme in UP, which is equal to the number of houses built in 15 years before the launch of PMAY-G in 2016.” He added that the quantity of grant given underneath the scheme to construct a home in rural areas has elevated from Rs 75,000 to Rs 1,20,000.

Govind Das, 37, Jhansi

Das lives along with his spouse, three kids and his father at Acchru Khirak Phutera village close to Baruwa Sagar in Babina constituency of Jhansi district.

A Class 10 dropout, he earns his livelihood – Rs 5,000-6,000 a month – by tilling his quarter-acre farm, apart from working as a labourer at NREGA websites and as a part-time employee at a manufacturing facility in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh.

Final 12 months, Das and his household obtained Rs 90,000 underneath the PM Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAGY), the agricultural housing programme that began in 2016 as a restructured type of the Indira Aawas Yojana of the Nineteen Eighties. The quantity was credited to his father Dayaram’s checking account. Nevertheless, Das mentioned, he’s but to obtain the remaining quantity of Rs 30,000. Development work on the one-room home continues to be on.

In 2019, the household obtained Rs 12,000 for the development of a rest room underneath the Swachh Bharat Mission. Additionally they bought a tap-water connection underneath the Jal Jeevan Mission, however haven’t bought water but. “Yeh pipeline purani line se connect ki hui hai, isliye pani nahin aata (The pipe has been connected to an old pipeline. Therefore, they do not receive water),” he mentioned.

Between February 25, 2019, and Could 15, 2021, the household obtained eight installments of PM-Kisan, totaling Rs 16,000. They’re but to obtain the final two installments. In all, 10 installments have been launched underneath PM-Kisan until date because the launch of the scheme in 2018-19. Underneath PM-Kisan, the federal government gives Rs 6,000 per 12 months in three installments to landholding farmer households.

Das and his spouse, Pramila Devi, each have e-Shram playing cards, a Central scheme which entitles them to an accident insurance coverage cowl of Rs 2 lakh. They’ve additionally registered themselves with the Uttar Pradesh Constructing and Different Development Staff Welfare Board, as a part of which every of them is entitled to get a one-time Covid-19 reduction of Rs 1,000. Whereas Das has obtained his share, Pramila is but to get her entitlement.

Das’s three kids – a 17-year-old son, two daughters aged 10 and 12 — all go to highschool. Paperwork obtainable with the household present that with faculties shut in the course of the pandemic, each his daughters bought free foodgrains (a complete of 51.9 kg) and Rs 1,849 in lieu of cooked meals underneath the mid-day meal scheme at college.

His household additionally has an Antyodaya card that entitles them to obtain 35 kg foodrains at subsidised charges underneath the Nationwide Meals Safety Act, 2013.

In addition to, every member of the household has been getting 5 kg free foodgrain (30 kg in all) each month underneath the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, a pandemic measure. In addition to this, the household has additionally been getting one kg every of gram dal, edible oil and salt each month — a state authorities measure in the course of the pandemic.

All of the grownup members of Das’s household have a Jan-dhan account. Nevertheless, his spouse didn’t obtain the Rs 500 month-to-month Covid help introduced by the Centre for ladies account holders in the course of the first Covid wave. Whereas Das has an insurance coverage cowl underneath the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, for which an quantity of Rs 12 is deducted from his checking account yearly, the household doesn’t have a card underneath Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

Das mentioned the village has a well being sub-center however no docs can be found there.

When requested what’s the situation which he wish to elevate in the course of the election, Das, who belongs to the Kushwaha (OBC) caste, mentioned, “koi plant lag jaaye ya kachhu ho jaye. Rojgar milat jaye bas (A factory should be set up so that we get some work),” he mentioned, including that stray cattle are additionally a giant drawback.

Geeta Devi Shriwas, 30

About 80 km away from the Das household, Geeta Devi lives along with her husband, three kids (two daughters and a son), her father-in-law and brother-in-law in Saura village in Charkhari meeting constituency of UP’s Mahoba district.

Her husband, Vijay Kumar, is a truck driver and earns Rs 8,000-10,000 a month. The household sends their kids to a personal college. “Sarkari school me padhai theek nahin hoti (Government schools do not provide good education),” says Geeta, who belongs to the Dhobi group, a Scheduled Caste.

The household is constructing a home with the Rs 1.20 lakh that was credited to her account underneath the PMAY-G scheme. The home is in her title.

The household has an Ayushman Bharat Card in her father-in-law Maiyadeen’s title that entitles them to free therapy of as much as Rs 5 lakh a 12 months. When requested whether or not he has used it, Maiyadeen mentioned that there isn’t any huge hospital obtainable within the locality.

All of the grownup family members have financial institution accounts and E-shram playing cards. Nevertheless, Geeta says she didn’t obtain the Rs 500 a month Covid help introduced by the Central authorities.

Geeta’s household additionally has a NREGA job card.

In August final 12 months, the household bought an LPG gasoline cylinder underneath the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. They use it often, Geeta mentioned.

The household, which grows mustard and wheat on their 1 bigha, has obtained all 10 installments introduced thus far of PM-Kisan, totalling Rs 20,000.

Maiyadeen says he’s glad that the federal government has given “equal respect to big and small farmers” underneath the scheme. “Earlier, under Akhilesh Yadav’s government, only rich farmers with 200-250 bigha got money; they had no regard for small farmers like us. Yogi ji ne bahut achchha kam kiya hai har aadmi ko samaan roop se samman diya hai… (Yogiji has done a very good job of giving equal respect to all farmers). Now a person who owns 100 bigha will get Rs 2,000, so will someone who owns 1 bigha,” he says.

Ramashankar, 52

About 220 km away lives Ramashankar in his unplastered home that’s surrounded by mustard fields at Moharwan village in Chitrakoot Meeting constituency. Ramashankar, who belongs to the Nishad group, lives along with his spouse, two sons and a daughter. The household grows wheat, paddy and mustard on their one-acre land.

Paperwork obtainable with the household present his kids obtained Rs 1,100 every from the state authorities to purchase college uniforms and footwear. One in all them has additionally obtained Rs 1,318 in lieu of the mid-day meal along with meals grains.

In addition to the 35 kg foodgrains that they get at subsidised charges underneath the Meals Safety Act, the household has additionally been getting ration underneath the Centre’s pandemic-time allocation.

The household has a NREGA job card. Final 12 months, Ramashankar bought Rs 10,000 underneath the job scheme.

Final 12 months, he began constructing a home with the Rs 1.20 lakh he bought underneath PMAY-G, however needed to cease the work when he ran out of cash; the doorways and home windows are nonetheless to be put in. Additionally they bought Rs 12,000 for the development of a rest room.

Ramashankar’s spouse, Asha Devi, says she obtained the Centre’s month-to-month Covid-19 grant of Rs 500 for 3 months, with the quantity credited in her Jan Dhan account.

The household has additionally obtained all 10 installments of PM-Kisan, totaling Rs 20,000, from March 2019 to January 2022.

Whereas the household has an electrical energy connection, faucet water pipelines underneath the Jal Jeevan Mission are but to achieve their house.

Ramashankar says the household has an LPG cylinder however he doesn’t get it refilled repeatedly. “We have firewood. We use that,” he mentioned.

Discussing the upcoming election, Ramashankar says the stray cattle menace is the most important situation in his village. “We will vote for the party that gets rid of this problem. I have to stay up all night to save my crops,” he says.

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