Aiming at garnering support of poor people in the ensuing general elections, the state government has opened its coffers for beneficiaries of the Shagun scheme and cleared the backlog of applications of the district till October 2013.
According to details gathered from the welfare department, a total of 4,236 cases pending since April 2012 till October 2013 have been cleared during the last three months and now applicants of only December and January 2014 are pending with the department. The 1,356 applications under this scheme from January to March 2012 have also been cleared as per the information.
The beneficiaries had been waiting for the 'shagun money' for several months and had got tired of repeatedly visiting the office of the department for payment. The officials in the department said that thanks to the election year that the government has now started remembering its promises made to the people before coming into power.
They said most of shagun beneficiaries have got the money of `15,000 into their accounts through online banking management system and those, who have not received the amount, would get the money through cheques in their names by hand.
They further stated that there were nearly 100-200 such account holders in the district who have not operated their accounts for a long time and banks have raised objections due to inoperative accounts and money has not been transferred into their accounts. District welfare officer Rajinder Singh said that payments of shagun applicants have been cleared till October 2013 and November, December and January applicants would also get the money into their accounts soon.
The scheme was first launched by the SAD-BJP government in 2007 and played a significant role in bringing the alliance back to power in 2012 assembly elections. As per the scheme, all families from the scheduled caste community having annual income below or up to Rs 30,000 per annum are given Rs 15,000 as shagun for the marriage of one of their daughters. The government later also brought widows and backward class families under this scheme. For availing the benefit of the scheme, the applicants have to send the applications along with requisite documents 15 days before marriage of the daughter and money would be transferred into their bank accounts online.