A state in India will soon begin providing a guaranteed basic income to about 10 million women

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CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is all set to make history by becoming the first state in India to offer a guaranteed monthly income of Rs 1,000 to women heads of households. The launch of the largest universal basic income programme on September 15 by Chief Minister M K Stalin would coincide with the birth anniversary of DMK founder C N Annadurai. A whopping 80 to 90 lakh women from underprivileged backgrounds are expected to benefit during the first phase. Recently, the union territory of Puducherry implemented a similar scheme, benefiting around 23,000 women family heads.

Disclosing the launch details of the scheme, one of DMK’s key poll promises, finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan while presenting the budget on Monday said Rs 7,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme. Operational guidelines outlining the eligibility criteria to receive the benefit will be released soon.  “This will be of great help for women heads of families who have been affected adversely by the steep increase in cooking gas prices by the union government and the overall inflation. The previous DMK governments had guaranteed equal rights in property and representation in local bodies to women. This government also implemented the free bus travel scheme,” the minister said.

Noting that the implementing agency for the monthly income scheme has not been finalised yet, minister for social welfare and women empowerment P Geetha Jeevan said, “Income benefit aimed at supporting impoverished families will not cover the rich, government employees and a few others. Approximately 80 to 90 lakh women are expected to avail themselves of this benefit.”

According to official sources, the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of  Women (TNCDW) recently completed the Participatory Identification of the Poor (PIP) survey in rural areas to identify impoverished households. The survey findings have been updated on the Tamil Nadu Integrated Poverty Portal Service (TIPPS), which will serve as the key source for selecting beneficiaries of the scheme.

While the TIPPS database includes records of poor families in urban households, a state government official noted that the survey conducted two years ago to identify poor families in Chennai and other cities had not been carried out accurately.  

Sources added that 6.84 lakh persons with disabilities (PwDs), who receive pensions of Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 under various categories, as well as 35.8 lakh beneficiaries who receive Rs 1,000 pensions under social security schemes will likely be excluded from the scheme. 

 Rs 2,800 crore for free bus travel scheme 
 Rs 2,800 crore has been earmarked this year for providing free travel for women, trans-persons, persons with disabilities and their attenders in ordinary buses across Tamil Nadu.

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