Explore BJD’s proactive approach in Odisha’s upcoming elections, with a series of welfare schemes. Learn about expanded social security, pension benefits, and community-focused initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable groups and enhancing citizens’ lives.
In preparation for the upcoming Odisha Assembly elections, Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is actively introducing various schemes. The most recent addition, announced on Monday, is the inclusion of 4.13 lakh more individuals in the state’s Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY)
Supporting Vulnerable Groups
Aligned with the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) of the central government, MBPY is a monthly social security pension scheme. It currently covers senior citizens, widows, disabled individuals, the impoverished, and transpersons. This latest announcement raises the total beneficiaries to 32.75 lakh, while NSAP covers 20 lakh people in Odisha.
Established in 2008, the scheme provides Rs 500 per month to eligible individuals aged 60-79 and Rs 700 per month to those above 80.
Strengthening Social Security
S K Lohani, Secretary of Odisha’s Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD), stated that the recent additions to MBPY will enhance the state’s social security system.
Cash Pension Distribution
The newly approved beneficiaries will receive their first pension on August 15 at local offices in the presence of elected representatives. This shift aligns with the Naveen Patnaik government’s decision to switch from direct benefit transfer (DBT) to cash distribution.
Focusing on Welfare
This move is in line with Patnaik’s reputation as a “pro-people and pro-poor leader.” This follows a series of welfare initiatives over the past months.
In August, Patnaik expanded the Odisha Unorganized Workers Social Security Board’s welfare schemes to include 50 more categories of workers from unorganized sectors. Assistance amounts for families of deceased workers were also doubled.
Support for Kendu Leaf Workers
In July, the government announced Rs 250 crore in aid for kendu leaf pluckers and binders, a vital group in western Odisha.
Several schemes are in the pipeline, including increased remuneration for traditional folk artists and enhanced food grants for hospital patients. The BJD government continues to emphasize welfare regardless of elections.
Patnaik inaugurated the Mukhya Mantri Sabha Gruha, a meeting hall in western Odisha districts, allowing voters to connect with the Chief Minister. This aims to strengthen the party’s presence in the region, historically a BJP stronghold.
Continuing Welfare Commitment
According to BJD Vice President Prasanna Acharya, “welfarism” is a core element of Patnaik’s agenda. The government is known for its comprehensive schemes benefiting citizens at various stages of life.