How The Ladli Behna Scheme In Madhya Pradesh Transcended Boundaries: SBI Report

New Delhi: A Special Research Report released by the Economic Department of State Bank of India has analysed the Madhya Pradesh government’s Ladli Behna Scheme and how it is transcending boundaries and empowering women in terms of a consumption boost at the bottom the pyramid across myriad pillars.

The Research Report titled – Economic Empowerment of Women a sine qua non for Development: How the Ladli Behna Scheme in Madhya Pradesh transcended boundaries, has looked into several aspects of Women empowerment and their role that has emerged lately in the electoral sphere.

Keeping in view of the low female participation in the labor force, the government of Madhya Pradesh, on 28 January 2023, announced the implementation of “Mukhyamantri Ladli Behna Yojana”, for the economic independence of women in the state.

Under this scheme, an amount of Rs 1,250 per month (earlier: Rs 1000) is to be paid to each eligible woman in her Aadhaar linked DBT enabled bank account. This translates to an annual sum of Rs 15,000 deposited into the bank accounts of eligible women aged 21-60 years old. This amount will be progressively hiked to Rs 3000 per month, said the reserach report.

“The implementation of the scheme will not only reflect the improvement in the health and nutritional status of women and children dependent on them, but women will be financially more independent than before to spend according to their priority Women will not only develop self-employment/livelihood resources using locally available resources with the financial assistance received, but will also be able to play an effective role in their decision-making at the family level,” SBI report said.

The SBI report added that currently total eligible women are: 1.25 crore (nearly 30% of total MP women population). Under the scheme, the Government has distributed Rs 2,418 crore and expected to increase further, it added.

The report found that Ladli Behna significantly increased female voter turnout in 2023 assembly election, said the SBI report. It added that Ladli Behna has resulted in significant district wise success rates in election across Madhya Pradesh: Nearly 3 out of 4 marginalised women have voted for the incumbent party.

“Panna, Vidisha, and Damoh, the 3 districts with highest women empowerment of marginalised women through Ladli Behna Scheme have resulted into winning of all the constituencies in the districts. Among the top 10 districts with highest women empowerment of marginalised women through Ladli Behna Scheme, have resulted into winning of at least 50% constituencies except Balaghat,” the report said.

The SBI report has said that women voters will outstrip men from 2029 onwards and almost at par in 2024.

“In 2024, we project total voter turnout at the current rate of polling could touch 68 crores, of which women voters could be at 33 crores /49%. In 2029, we project total voter turnout at the current rate of polling could touch 73 crores, of which women voters at 37 crores could be outstripping registered men voters at 36 crores/ >50% of registered voters…..the inflection point would be a testimony of women getting their due share on socio-economic fronts and should be a harbinger of harmonized growth,” said the report.

SBI report added that Beyond Ladli Behna, Madhya Pradesh economy has performed well in the last decade.

“Decadal growth of credit (FY23-FY13) in MP is higher than all India growth in agri, industry as well as retail segments with agriculture credit in MP having a higher share of 5.4% in overall India’s agriculture credit in FY23. Additionally, though having a smaller base, decadal growth of exports in MP is higher than the overall India’s growth (2 times during FY13-FY23, while overall India’s exports have increased by 1.5 times).

SBI report said that empowerment and protection of women and children who constitute 67.7% of India’s population and ensuring their wholesome development in a safe and secure environment is crucial for sustainable and equitable development of the country and for achieving transformational economic and social changes.

It noted that women’s share is increasing in all the Government sponsored schemes. The share of women stands at 81% in Stand-up India, 68% in MUDRA loans, 37% in PMSBY and 27% in PMJJBY.

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