SKOCH Award Nominee
Category: Empowerment – State Department
Sub-Category: subEmpowerment – State Department
Project: Lakshmir Bhandar
Start Date: 2021-08-16
Organisation: Department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare
Respondent: Ms Sanghamitra Ghosh, Principal Secretary
Women Financial Empowerment Programme
The Department of Women and Child Development of Bengal initiated the Lakshmi Bhandar scheme which aimed at the financial empowerment of the women. All women aged 25-60 years in West Bengal, enrolled in ‘Swasthyasathi’, are entitled to receive the scheme’s benefits, except those who are drawing government salary/pension.
The presence of patriarchy and men often being the sole bread earner of the family, especially in underprivileged areas results in humiliation and harassment of female members. There often happens to be a scarcity of cash in their hand. The situation was worsened by pandemics when most of the families were facing the utmost financial crunch. There was a need for social inclusion of marginal women and their financial empowerment.
Lakshmi Bhandar Programme was started to facilitate monthly Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 1000/- to SC/ST women and Rs. 500/- to other category women except for salary and pension drawers from the government. It was ensured that the transfer is proceeded to the adult female member’s bank account.
The scheme targeted the women in the age group of 25-60 years and disbursed Rs. 5758.02 crore till now. It entails an outgo of Rs 850 crores per month from the government’s coffers and ensured the facilitation of establishing the identity and social rights of SC/ST/economically deprived women.
The number of stakeholders under this project was huge. The arrangement of adequate budget provisions to meet up the financial requirement was a challenge. Integration of the gateway portal and ensuring the genuineness to prevent multiple transfers to a single beneficiary were other challenges faced.
Development of Duare Sarkar Camps to facilitate bringing government services to the doorstep of the people and development of software to ensure direct benefit transfer from Department to the bank account of beneficiaries.
The scheme itself has its entry point open so that any eligible left-out beneficiary can apply in the next round of Duare Sarkar. The department plans to go up to around Rs 1200 crores per month in future.
The project had a transformational effect on the lives of the poor and vulnerable of the state and, most importantly, led to real woman empowerment and advancement of the general well-being of the populace.
For more information, please contact:
Ms Sanghamitra Ghosh, Principal Secretary at email@example.com
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