TN to give thrust to women's welfare programme

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Chennai, Mar 20 (UNI) Tamil Nadu government today announced that it would extend various schemes for women including free gas connection, financial assistance for pregnant women and additional formation of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the state.

Presenting the state budget for 2008-2009, state Finance Minister K Anbazhagan said with a view to implementing free gas connection scheme in the coming year, a provision of Rs 160 crore has been made for distribution of eight lakh free gas stoves and free gas connections.

He said from the coming financial year, financial assistance would be given under the Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy Memorial Maternity Assistance Scheme to women from poor families based only on the recommendation of the health nurse in a village, who examines the beneficiary during pregnancy. No income certificate is required to be produced.

Mr Anbazhagan also informed that with regard to the increasing marriage expenses for women, financial assistance under the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Memorial Marriage Assisance Scheme, the government has decided to increase assistance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000.

He said about 25,000 new SHGs with four lakh women as members would be formed during 2008-2009.

''With a view to benefitting the SHGs by helping them engage in economic activity, the government would provide revolving fund to the tune of Rs 150 crore to all the remaining 1,50,000 SHGs in the coming financial year'', he said, adding about 30 lakh women, who were members of these SHGs would benefit from this initiative.

UNI SNR LS RS1553

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