Distribution events cost more than sarees

Critics have termed the scheme ‘Boguslakshmi’.

While it spent Rs 23 crore for purchasing 10,68,296 sarees to distribute them free to beneficiaries of the Bhaghyalakshmi scheme, the government spent not less than Rs 13 crore – 56.58 per cent of the programme budget to hold  functions where the sarees were distributed, provoking an MLC to describe the programme “Boguslakshmi”.

The statistics were furnished by Women and Child Welfare Minister C C Patil in the Legislative Council on Monday, in response to a question by Dayanand (Congress).

Of the Rs 13 crore, as much as Rs 44,77,290 was spent on purchasing covers that contained the sarees. The cost of the distribution programmes including the food provided to the women and the expenditure on the dais was Rs 7,68,99,251. The cost of conveying the beneficiaries to the programme venue was Rs 4,56,57,651. Publicity to the programme cost Rs 2,99,700, the minister said.

Irked by the reply, Congress members pointed out that while Rs 23 crore worth sub-standard sarees were purchased from Surat, nearly half of the total amount was spent for holding the public programmes.

R V Venkatesh dubbed the Bhagyalakshmi scheme as a ‘Boguslakshmi’ scheme, while Motamma said: “When we purchase a saree, it comes along with a cover. Why should you purchase covers separately? Who are you trying to fool?”

In defence of the expenditure, the minister said the beneficiaries also underwent free medical checkups when they attended the programme. He also said: “When you travel by a car to purchase a kg of tomato, if you take petrol cost into account, then the tomato price will be naturally higher”.

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