TN Govt's Rs 1000 scheme for women heads: Who could be the beneficiaries and how ADMK sparked a row?

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan has presented the state budget for 2023-24 at the Assembly house on Monday - March 20. During his budget speech that lasted for over an hour, Thiaga Rajan has made crucial announcements and one of them is - implementing Rs 1000 assistance for every women head in the state. 

Often called one of the landmark promises of MK Stalin, the scheme of providing Rs 1000 for women heads, after being rusted on the table for long time, is now getting life. Announcing the scheme, the finance minister said that it will be launched on September 15, on the occasion of former Chief Minister and DMK stalwart CN Annadurai's birth anniversary, by Chief Minister MK Stalin. 

The finance minister further announced that Rs 7000 crore will be allotted for the scheme, adding that the eligibility criteria and protocols to avail the scheme will be announced soon. While the DMK functionaries are hailing the announcement, the government's statement that the scheme will be provided to qualified women heads in the state has baffled the people and there are several speculations about who could be possible benefiaciaries of the scheme.

According to our sources, the government is in the process of finalizing the benefiaciaries. Women heads who are into government jobs, who are paying income tax, and who possess own house won't have eligibility to receive Rs 1000 per month under this assistance scheme. Women heads who are below poverty line, women who have Priority Household  - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (PHH-AAY) rations cards, and PHH ration cards would be the possible benefiaciaries of this scheme. 

These women would be eligible to get Rs 1000 though their girl children, who are studying in government schools, are getting Rs 1000 from the government. It has also been reported that though the eligible women heads are receiving funds under Old Age Pension Scheme, they will also get Rs 1000 per month from the government. 

On the other hand, the opposition party ADMK has sparked a row by slamming the DMK government for twisting the tale in its announcement of providing Rs 1000 for women heads. ADMK MLAs, led by Edappadi Palaniswami, had walked out of the assembly amidst the presentation of the budget and while addressing the reporters, Palaniswami criticized the DMK government for changing its stand by announcing that it would provide Rs 1000 only for qualified women. 

"The government says only qualified women heads of family will get Rs 1,000. On what basis will you fix the quality?", Palaniswami asked and said that Tamil Nadu budget is a mere mirage and it won't give any light to the people. Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai has urged the government to provide Rs 1000 to all family card holders not only for the qualified women heads. 

Taking to Twitter, Annamalai wrote, "I am happy that two years after coming to power, DMK finally remembered it's poll promise to give Rs 1,000 monthly financial aid to women heads. When this scheme is launched in September this year, I urge the government to provide Rs 29,000, including 28 months arrear. Along with that, without diverting the objective of the scheme that only qualified women heads will be given Rs 1000, I urge on behalf of the Tamil Nadu BJP that all 2,2 crore family card holders should be given Rs 1000."