The Goa government's 'Laadli Laxmi' scheme, a flagship social initiative which grants Rs.1 lakh to women at the time of marriage, has hit rough weather.
The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court Thursday issued a notice to the Goa government, after a 19-year-old woman petitioned the court that the implementation of the scheme, especially making the application forms available with legislators, was flawed.
The petitioner, Steffi Fernandes, said that the application forms are not available with the Directorate of Women and Child Development as all the forms had been taken by the ruling party legislators, with none available for the general public.
"Legislators should not be allowed to interfere in the process of administration," Steffi's advocate Aires Rodrigues told reporters.
The state government has been directed to respond to the notice within two weeks.
The Goa government has already set aside Rs.150 crore for the implementation of the scheme, which was announced in the budget for the current financial year.
According to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, about 20,000 women were expected to benefit from the scheme, which would be implemented by the state government's Women and Child Development Department.
It is one of the several schemes targeting women that was listed in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) election manifesto. The 'Laadli Laxmi' scheme, however, can only be availed by residents of Goa.
The state has a literacy percentage of 87.40 and a sex ratio of 968:1000, which is slightly above the national average of 940:1000.
As per the 2011 census, the west coast state ranks 11th as compared to other states and union territories of India, with Kerala topping the list at 1084:1000 and Daman and Diu at the bottom with 618:1000.