SAD-BJP promises free bicycles to class XI-XII girls

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Old 15-Mar-2011
SAD-BJP promises free bicycles to class XI-XII girls

Chandigarh March 15:

In poll-bound Punjab, the SAD-BJP Government decided to pedal its way to victory in the upcoming Assembly elections by proposing in the Budget 2011-12 to provide free bicycles to girls and also to bear all their educational expenses from Class I to XII.

“We will make education free in the actual sense of the word,” said Finance Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur. The bicycles would be given to girl students in Class XI and XII of Government schools. The Budget has levied no new taxes as well. The State Government has earmarked `75 crore for this purpose.

The Budget also intends to provide free utensils in all schools under the midday meal scheme, providing ‘missing’ basic amenities in schools, 17 new post-graduate degree colleges to be set up in educationally backward districts, construction of rural toilets, cleaning of village ponds, cashless medical insurance scheme for all members of the police department and a Rs 1,000 cash incentive to all mothers who undergo institutional deliveries in Government hospitals under Mata Kaushalya Kalyan Scheme.
This is not for the first time that any State Government has proposed to distribute cycles among students. The instances are many. Recently Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too rode their way to successive wins in Assembly elections. Giving a reason to cheer for the parents on the birth of a girl child, the State Government will provide the benefit of Rs 15,000 under the new scheme — Bebe Nanki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme — with the amount to be invested in the name of the child with the Life Insurance Corporation of India. This has got Rs 16.50 crore as budgetary allocation.

The State Government has also lowered the women’s qualifying age limit for old-age pension to 58 years from 60 years. In a move to fetch votes of different communities, the State Government announced formation of Ravidas Bhawan, Valmiki Bhawan and Masih Bhawan, other than integrated development of holy Ram Tirath in Amritsar and a memorial in the honour of Guru Ravi Dasji at village Khuralgarh in Hoshiarpur.

However, the Budget has proposed virtually nothing for the agriculture sector. Mounting debt, increasing cost of farm inputs including diesel, fertilisers and seed and a re-look on subsidies is what is missing from the Budget presented by Kaur. Denting the Congress’ campaign, the SAD-BJP State Government, subject to legal advice, announced “restoration” of pension to teachers of State-aided schools which was stopped by the previous Congress Government incorporating a provision in the statutory rules.

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