‘Priyadarshini’, a scheme introduced by the previous UPA government to train women to become self-sufficient, closed down since “absolutely no work” was done on the ground, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Thursday.
During Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Gandhi told members that the scheme, which was implemented in seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, was reviewed when the Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power two years ago.
She said the programme closed down on January 31, 2015.
“It was a very bad programme” and did not improve the condition of people as was aimed, the minister said. “Rs 31 crore had been spent with no work on ground. So the ministry decided that what has been wasted is wasted and the rest of the funds were returned,” she said.
The idea behind the scheme, the minister said, was to train women to become self sufficient and start Self Help Groups, “but this did not happen.”
“It was found that many of the NGOs were chosen for reasons other than the ability to work on the ground,” she said. “The entire project had very little to do with women and more to do with people who own the NGOs,” Gandhi said.
The programme was started by the previous UPA government with assistance from NABARD.