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'On Diwali, light a diya for the boy child too!'

This seems to be Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's appeal for the festive season

Here's something to add a new twist to the gender debate. In an interview with MiD DAY, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was in Delhi to attend the 56th National Development Council meeting on Saturday, said that after providing a bicycle for every girl child, his government will now give a bicycle each to the boys as well.



In May, the state government had adopted a practical approach to problems of girls. It may be recalled that the a scheme was launched, in which a bicycle was given to those female students who had discontinued school after eighth standard as they could not take admission in the ninth standard in other villages with reasons ranging from inaccessibility to insecurity.

Saving the day
This apart, his government in Madhya Pradesh has turned out to be a messiah for the girls. The innovative scheme--Ladli Laxmi Yojana--has proved to be a cornerstone for women folk. The scheme, which was envisaged and implemented by Chouhan, has become so effective and popular that other states as well as the Central government have emulated the scheme and implemented it by other names. So far, over 745,000 girls have benefited under the scheme. They would receive Rs 900 crore on maturity of the National Saving Certificates (NSCs) worth Rs 250 crore, purchased by the state government in their names.

At the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, Chouhan didn't seem too impressed with the Centre. On the issue of coal, which is making news across the nation and was on Chouhan's agenda, he said, "There is availability of coal in our state but the Centre is not giving environmental clearances. Besides, they are also not providing the necessary supply and when we ask them about it, they ask us to import. Why should we?"
On the issue of corruption, he said, "We have been benefited by our Public Services Delivery Bill 2010 and we have received 66 applications, which are being looked into properly. We believe in good governance and want that people should get things easily."

'Not in the race'
Amid growing speculation over BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections, Chouhan on Sunday virtually ruled out that he is in this race saying his priority is working for the state and its progress.
Chouhan says he is passionate about various development schemes in his state aimed at benefiting women and the girl child, improving infrastructure especially in rural areas, as well as reaching out to the weaker sections of society.

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Females for every 1,000 males is the sex ratio in Madhya Pradesh

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