As Tamil Nadu CM Stalin launches phase-II of women’s grant scheme, beneficiary numbers swell to 1.13 crore

As many as 7.35 lakh women were added to the scheme this month, taking the total number of beneficiaries to 1,13,84,300.

ByLaasya Shekhar

Published Nov 10, 2023 | 9:19 PMUpdatedNov 10, 2023 | 9:19 PM

MK Stalin

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin rolled out the second phase of the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam (Kalaignar Women’s Rights Grant Scheme) on Friday, 10 November.

Launched on 15 September, coinciding with the birthday of former chief minister M Karunanidhi, the scheme that credits ₹1,000 into the bank accounts of women from families with an annual income of less than ₹2.5 lakh, was the most populist of the seven assurances the DMK had made before coming into power.

Speaking at the launch of the second phase in Chennai, Stalin said 7.35 lakh women were added to the scheme this month. “This takes the total number of beneficiaries to 1,13,84,300,” the chief minister said. 

Out of the 2.24 crore cardholders in the state, 1.63 crore women applied for the scheme, demonstrating the trust and belief people have in the government. Critics who initially dismissed the scheme have now fallen silent, Stalin added. 

“When I announced the scheme before the polls, critics ruled it impossible. They said we cannot come to power with schemes such as these. But the people decided that the DMK should come to power and that I should be the chief minister. This scheme is proof that I would abide by my promises,” he further said. 

Also Read: Is Tamil Nadu diverting money set aside for Dalits to fund its new women’s rights grant scheme?

What do the beneficiaries say? 

Single women and transgenders, who head the household, and aged 21 or above, were also eligible for the scheme.

Rathi, a transwoman from Pulianthope, Chennai, expressed gratitude to the chief minister. “I did not receive the money initially. However, Greater Chennai Corporation officials called me five days ago and collected my details. I am grateful to the chief minister for including us in the scheme,” she said at the event. 

For September and October, Stalin said the money was distributed to 1.6 crore women. The government was distributed the money in advance this month.

Bharathi, a beneficiary from Chepauk, Chennai, said despite the initial hiccups, she received the money in advance. “This is indeed a Deepavali gift. I was unsure if I would get it by 15 November. But I got it on 9 November,” she said. 

Also Read: Tamil Nadu widows pin their hopes on new government scheme to be launched in September

Plans ahead

The chief minister emphasised that the scheme was not merely meant to provide financial support but to establish women’s rights. He expressed a desire for the scheme to reach all its beneficiaries, highlighting the government’s plan to simplify the application process by setting up camps.

Efforts were also underway to assist the 2,42,956 women who did not possess bank accounts. The success of the scheme was evident from the lack of complaints, making it a pioneering initiative for the entire country, Stalin said. 

The chief minister highlighted the involvement of 54,220 officials at the district and village levels, dedicated to the scheme’s implementation. 

The event was attended by the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation, Dr  J Radhakrishnan, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister PK Sekar Babu, and Chennai Mayor R Priya, among others.

Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena reiterated the government’s commitment to empowering women in Tamil Nadu, to improve their livelihoods and social status.