“Laadle” MLAs

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
20 July 2012 23:08 IST

goanews.com has already taken a stand that ‘Laadli Laxmi’ scheme is not meant for reducing female foeticide, contrary to what chief minister Manohar Parrikar keeps on reiterating; a la Gobbel. How can a girl child to be born tomorrow be saved by giving Rs one lakh to the girl born 18 years ago? It’s a populist scheme, let’s admit, which people would appreciate and girls, parents and the bridegroom would dance at. Because Rs one lakh is definitely not a small sum. It is also not a new scheme, but upgradation of ‘Kanya Daan’ scheme introduced by Parrikar’s Congress predecessor Digambar Kamat in his last year’s budget, but with only Rs 25,000, that too only for economically weaker sections. His another scheme called ‘Dhan Laxmi’, depositing Rs 25,000 by opening a bank account of a newly born girl child, was actually helping to control female foeticide. Sadly, Parrikar has discontinued it.

But the ‘Laadli Laxmi’ scheme not only appears benefitting the young girls, who want to get married. It would also benefit the MLAs, especially the BJP MLAs. The forms were printed and were taken exclusively only by the BJP MLAs. How? Parrikar has a simple reply to it. Being the ruling party MLAs, they came to know first about the forms and they simply picked up ALL the forms, leaving not a single form behind in the Department of Women and Child Development. After opposition MLAs made a hue and cry over it in the Assembly, Parrikar has now assured to print the second lot, for the MLAs as well as for general distribution.

The fact is that the BJP MLAs are already distributing it. Nothing new in it. When Congress was in power, they had an exclusive right over such forms before the opposition MLAs could get it. Every dog has his own day! But there is something more. Parrikar has not denied the allegation that the BJP MLAs are making it a precondition to become the BJP member, to get this form. “What can I do if they are enrolling the applicants as party members”, asks the chief minister. Why is the BJP so desperate to get people enrolled in the party through such blackmails, after such a huge and historical victory? Because it was not the BJP’s victory? Or because binding people with such emotional blackmails – the Congress style – is the only way to play politics?

Well, this is not enough. Parrikar has made one more thing amply clear. If the MLA signs the ‘Laadli Laxmi’ form, the bride gets her one lakh faster. If not, it would be delayed due to investigations and verifications about the bride. Obviously, anybody would definitely go to the MLA to get it signed, though the forms can be legally submitted even without MLA’s signature. It would make all the MLAs happy, including the opposition MLAs, though the blackmail is neither democratic nor justified.

Parrikar has a justification for such kind of arrangement. According to him, the MLA is the most ‘responsible’ person and he would definitely not sign the form without verifying the fact. Possible. But he has given ultra-freedom to the MLAs. There is no compulsion that the MLAs have to sign forms only from their own constituency. They can sign any form from any constituency. How will the MLA of Canacona know the applicant of Poriem constituency or Valpoi MLA know the girl from Sanguem? But they would be considered authentic and money would be disbursed without raising any suspicion. Are our politicians really above such suspicion? Do we have all ‘clean’ MLAs in the Assembly now?

Women’s organizations have criticized the ‘Laadli Laxmi’ scheme, terming it as an official dowry from the government. While citing series of examples of dowry deaths, they have expressed fear that the scheme may simply lead to such kind of horrific incidents. People may get simply married to get one lakh. With such ultra-freedom given to the MLAs, obviously for political benefits, there is yet another fear of politicians taking ‘advantage’ of the situation. Has Parrikar thought over this danger lying ahead?  

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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A long time ago (about 25 years ago) one old man from Mayem told me something about portuguese days. In those days when a young girl would get married and the wedding procession would reach bridegrooms village after marriage first the wedding party would go to the house of the bhatkar. there the young newly wed bride would go inside the house of the bhatkar alone while the entire wedding party would wait outside including the newly wed husband. after an hour the new bride would come out of bhatkars house with some money as a gift. no questions asked. parrikar has turned the mlas into new bhatkars. What is the reputation of several MLAs of Goa when it comes to women? Parrikar wants fathers to take their daughters to these creatures? What special investigative powers the MLAs possess. Has people of Goa forgotten Sunita? SHAME

- Bhushan, Panaji | 23 rd July 2012 17:19

 

The Laadli Scheme is supposed to benefit an innocent girl about to get married. Forms distributed through the local MLA, who being of the ruling party gets them before anybody, would be like an 'insider trading, which is being justified by the leader'. Secondly, there may be a price to be paid, if one is to get enrolment, as the accusation goes, it being used to obtain membership of the ruling party,by none other thing but by inducement. Thirdly, the money in the hands of the girl to be married will probably one of the pre-conditions from the bridegroom and his family. Who would not think that it is not the funds of the party kitty, and why should they benefit.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 23 rd July 2012 12:32

 

Three points: (1) As I understand, "Laadli Laxmi" is with a positive purpose. Hence, it should be de-linked from marriage to keep it totally free from the shadow of state-sponsored dowry. Let the State not enter into the deep rooted outdated convention of "Kanya Daan" which all of us are literally forced to follow due to social and religious pressure. If our progressive Chief Minister de-links, Goa would set an example for rest of India.

(2) Cornering of forms by select MLAs of ruling party is pre-planned and pre-designed. A child knows it is all politics. But, if people do not raise protest, then imbecility of men will invite such impudence of power.

(3) I will instruct my daughter and the daughter-in-law to get the authentication of not only a BJP MLA to ensure fast disbursement but of Shri Manohar Parrikar so that no further investigations by any machinery are required.

Jai Ho!

- Prabhakar Timble, Margao | 21 st July 2012 07:24

 

They will then spend the rest of their days singing, "Meri sapano ki rani, kahan hain tum..." Yes some creepy MLAs may volunteer to sample the goods before giving the kanyadan.

- bevinda collaco, panaji | 20 th July 2012 23:55

 

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