New Delhi: The Centre has slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for using government funds for the marriage of poor girls and providing free medical aid to Dalits, minorities and backwards including people dependent on them.

Conveying its displeasure at the annual Planning Commission’s meeting here on Tuesday, the Central government asked the state government to focus on overall development of the state rather than on such policies.

According to the Planning Commission, “The poverty rate of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the state is higher than average national level. The national average poverty rate of SC in villages stands at 23.3 percent while in UP the poverty rate of SC is 36.8 percent.”

The state has the highest number of population of Scheduled Tribes where 66 races fall under this category while it has over 13 thousands villages with a whopping 30-40 percent population falling under the category of Scheduled Tribes.

Citing these issues at the meeting, the Central Government came down heavily on the Mayawati government and questioned its policies.

The government urged that “instead of focusing on such policies the Mayawati regime should focus on programmes which will help in improving the social and economic conditions of the economically backward people in the state and help them bring at par with other classes.” 

The Mayawati government has been providing financial assistance of Rs 10,000 for the wedding of STs, poor peoples' daughters and Rs 5000 as medical aid to dalits, minorities and backwards. The policy is beneficial for those families which have an annual income of Rs 25,546 in city and Rs 19,884 in villages.