In an effort to woo women voters, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate LK Advani Tuesday vowed that if voted to power his government will give Rs.100,000 to every girl in the country by the time she is 18 year old.
"It is my promise that, if elected to form the next government, it will be our endeavour to make every girl in India a 'lakhpati' by the time she attains maturity. We will introduce a Ladli Laxmi Yojana in every state to support the girl child," the 81-year-old BJP leader wrote on his blog.
There are 340 million women voters among the 714 million electorate in India to cast their votes in an April and May general election.
Citing the success of similar scheme in Madhya Pradesh, Advani said: "The scheme was started by the BJP government in the state in 2006. In a very short time, it has proved to be one of the most successful social welfare schemes in the history of the state."
Under the scheme, the state government buys saving certificates of Rs.6,000 each year for five consecutive years for every girl born in a family.
The girl gets Rs.2,000 after she completes the Class 5, another Rs.4,000 after she completes the Class 8, Rs.7,500 after she completes the Class 10, Rs. 200 per month in her 11th standard and a lumpsum amount of Rs.1,18,000 after she enters the 12th standard or, alternatively, attains the age of 18.
"The principal aim of the scheme is to eliminate school dropout among girl students and to encourage them to study at least upto pre-college level. As far as girl child is concerned, her care cannot be the responsibility of her parents alone. It is equally the responsibility of the government," Advani wrote.
The BJP leader also expressed concern over declining gender ratio in the country and growing practices of female foeticide.
"There is a need to launch a sustained nationwide campaign, combining both government and non-government efforts, against evil practices like female foeticide. If the BJP and NDA are given the mandate in the next parliamentary elections, I shall personally lead the 'Beti Bachao' campaign as the head of the government," said Advani.