It seems that the Congress government in Rajasthan is bent upon to shelve the good schemes started by the previous BJP government, even those which were appreciated by the UPA government at the center.
Ashok Gehlot has asked his ministers and officials of their departments to review the schemes launched by the then BJP government. In the name of reviewing the schemes, these schemes are virtually dropped now.
It all started with the shelving of women empowerment Bhamashah scheme. Under the scheme, over 50 lakh women heads of BPL families, were to have bank accounts in their names. Wages received by the women under NAREGA and such other schemes, were to credited to these accounts. To open the account, the government was to provide Rs 1,500 to each women, head of the family. This was to be implemented by a public sector bank. Government had marked about Rs 750 crore for the scheme, of which bank was already given Rs 160 crore. But last January, while reviewing the scheme, the government decided not to proceed further and asked the bank to retuned the money.
Setting up of all women police force Rani Hadi Battalion by the BJP government was the next target of Gehlot government. It has almost decided to shelve the scheme.
But buckling under the pressure from opposition and women activist groups, the Congress government has decided to not to abandon the much talked Hadi Rani battalion, an all women battalion of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC), raised during the BJP government as part of its women empowerment programme.
Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in her budget speech in January 2008 had announced to raise this battalion and Central Government had appreciated this step of the state government. In all about 700 women were to be recruited for the battalion.
In February this year, a senior police official, sent a proposal to the home department to abandon the idea of raising such a battalion.
In his proposal he said, “women, physically, mentally and intellectually are unsuitable for independent duty in police forces. At the same time, it said that socially and practically it is not wise to have women in mail dominated armed wing of the police”.
When this proposal was sent, about 115 women had already recruited. The proposal suggested that all these recruited women should be merged with police set up at various stage. When this proposal came to light, BJP leaders reacted strongly and said that even the schemes like this, appreciated by the Center, are being shelved by the new Congress government, merely because these were started by the BJP government.
Organisation like Public Union for Civil Liberties, came heavily on the government. Its secretary Kavita Srivastav said, “if a women in India could become President and Prime Minister of the country, why they are not considered to be fit for armed police services?”
OP Sharma, a retired Major, who is involved in social organisations , said that women are independently discharging their duties in armed forces and air force of the county. Even they are flying fighter aircrafts, he said.
After this criticism, matter was discussed at the highest level last week and it was decided not shelve the setting up of this battalion. According to senior police officials as other than already recruited 118 women, about 550 had cleared the written test. Now they are being called for interview from June 1.