Govt.’s Worthless Scheme for the BPL Families !

R.D. Bhardwaj “Noorpuri”

Going by the reports appearing in newspapers and TV news channels, it is emanating that the Central Government is going to announce a populist scheme of doling out mobile phones to the BPL families. The proposal which is very much akin to an election time promise saying that the UPA Govt. will provide all poor families living below poverty line, a cell phone free of cost with a 200 minutes of free talk time every month, also very much lacks the real intention of the Govt. to help the poor people, as very few amongst them are really going to benefit out of this scheme. There are approximately 6.52 crores BPL families in India and providing them a cell with 200 minutes of free talk time every month, would entail an expenditure of around Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000 crores every year. It is very pertinent to mention here that the poor people are beset with many other serious problems like – providing food to their families, good education to children, affordable medical facilities and above all, having a house of their own to live in. 

It is also not out of place to mention here that the print and electronics media has shown many a time in the past, that the government does not have sufficient storage facilities like stores and warehouses etc. for storing the food grain commodities and as such, food grains like wheat and rice are left in the open at hundreds of places through out India. Due to miserably poor lack of proper upkeep facilities, lakhs of tonnes of food grains are rotting-up in various states. When the matter was brought to the notice of Supreme Court last year, the Hon’ble Court after going through the crux of the problem, made a sincere and people friendly suggestion to the Government , to distribute these huge stock piles of wheat and rice to the poor families free of cost. The suggestion of the Hon’ble Court was given keeping in view the plight of the poor people and miserably shortage of storage facilities for these food grains, but surprisingly, the Central Agriculture Minister turned down this suggestion of the Court, saying that these food grains cannot be given free of cost.  

However, in view of the poorly drafted latest cell phone dole out to the BPL families, it is opined that it would be much better if this scheme is scrapped altogether, as it will only amount to wastage of huge expenses at the cost of the tax payers’ money, without any really utilitarian benefits being derived by the poor and needy. However, keeping in view of plight of the poor people , it is suggested that all BPL families should be better provided wheat and rice to them @ ten kg. per family member with a maximum of 50 kg. food grains per month for each family, so that, at least, the burden of food could be minimised on them. The money thus saved by the BPL famlies due to getting food grains free of cost from the government, could be spent by them for providing quality education to the children and getting some what better medical facilities etc.

It should be borne in mind that in case the government goes ahead with its mobile phone scheme, only cell phone complanies are going to benefit from it, and certainly not the poor people. As everybody is aware that even today, lakhs of people across the length and breadth of country die every year due of malnutrition, because they simply don’t have means of livelihood and hence, can not purchase sufficient food for their families. So, please scrap this foolish scheme of providing cell phones to them, because who needs a phone when your stomach is empty ?