In what In what is being seen as the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) government’s move to woo voters in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the Akhilesh government will now offer loans of Rs 10 lakh to students under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) [also read Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)] , to those who received the laptops by the state government.
The concerned authorities will pick up 16 lakh students who are good in studies and want to open their own business. The UP government believes that this will boost industries in the state and will provide more jobs to people in the state.
It must be noted that the free laptop scheme was largely credited with scripting the stupendous performance by SP in 2012, by winning 224 seat in the 403 member UP legislative assembly, trouncing BSP as runner-up with 80 seats.
The laptop scheme helped the SP in getting the votes of youth and first time voters and shed its ‘perceived’ anti-English and anti-computer image.
The UP government is estimated to have distributed laptops to 18 lakh students during the first year in office, but during subsequent years it got knocked off its priority list. One of the major reasons was a humiliating defeat at the hands of Narendra Modi led-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Senior SP leaders had claimed the laptops distributed by Akhilesh were used extensively in Modi’s election campaigns in UP.
During 2012-13, Akhilesh had made budgetary provision of about Rs 2,800 crore for the free laptop scheme. However, there had been no financial support during the 2013-14 and 2014-15.