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The Amazing Story of How Madhya Pradesh Became the First State to Give Toll Points to Women

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Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India that is known for its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and agricultural prosperity. But did you know that it is also the first state in India to give toll points to women? Yes, you read that right. In a landmark decision, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to hand over the operations of all such toll tax points in the state, which have an annual revenue of up to Rs 2 crore, to women self-help groups. 

What is the scheme and why is it important?

The scheme was announced by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in July 2023, during his interaction with women, youth, farmers, and the public at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee ground at Ashta. He said that the scheme not only aims to provide financial assistance to women but also respect, self-confidence, and honour. He also asserted that the Laadli Behna Yojana, which gives Rs 1000 to women every month, is a life-changing scheme and the amount will be increased to Rs 3000 soon. 

The scheme is important because it empowers women by giving them an opportunity to manage and run toll points, which are usually dominated by men. It also enhances their income and livelihoods by providing them a steady source of revenue. Moreover, it promotes women’s safety and security by ensuring that they are not harassed or exploited by anyone at the toll points. The scheme also fosters social inclusion and gender equality by breaking the stereotypes and barriers that prevent women from participating in public life.

How many toll points and women are involved in the scheme?

According to the government, there are around 300 toll points in Madhya Pradesh, out of which 150 have an annual revenue of less than Rs 2 crore. These toll points will be handed over to women self-help groups in a phased manner. The first toll point under the scheme was inaugurated in August 2023 at Biaora in Rajgarh district. 

The government has identified around 15,000 women self-help groups in the state, which have a total membership of around 1.5 lakh women. These groups are involved in various activities such as agriculture, animal husbandry, handicrafts, food processing, etc. The government will provide training and support to these groups to enable them to operate and maintain the toll points efficiently and effectively.

What are the benefits and challenges of the scheme?

The scheme has several benefits for the women as well as the state. Some of them are:

  • Increased income and financial independence: The scheme provides a regular and stable income to the women self-help groups, which can help them improve their living standards and meet their needs and aspirations. It also gives them financial independence and autonomy, which can boost their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Enhanced skills and knowledge: The scheme provides training and exposure to the women self-help groups on various aspects of toll point management such as accounting, auditing, customer service, security, etc. It also helps them acquire new skills and knowledge that can enhance their employability and entrepreneurship potential.
  • Improved social status and recognition: The scheme gives recognition and respect to the women self-help groups for their contribution to the development of the state and the society. It also improves their social status and dignity by challenging the patriarchal norms and prejudices that restrict their roles and opportunities.
  • Reduced corruption and leakage: The scheme reduces corruption and leakage of funds at the toll points by ensuring transparency and accountability of the operations. It also prevents any misuse or misappropriation of public money by vested interests.

However, the scheme also faces some challenges that need to be addressed. Some of them are:

  • Lack of awareness and acceptance: The scheme is a new and novel initiative that may not be well-known or well-accepted by some sections of the society. There may be some resistance or opposition from some people who may not be comfortable with seeing women at toll points or who may doubt their capabilities or intentions.
  • Lack of infrastructure and facilities: The scheme requires adequate infrastructure and facilities at the toll points such as computers, cameras, printers, etc., which may not be available or functional at some places. There may also be a lack of basic amenities such as toilets, water, electricity, etc., which may affect the comfort and convenience of the women.
  • Lack of security and safety: The scheme involves working at toll points that may be located in remote or isolated areas or that may witness heavy traffic or congestion. There may be a risk of accidents, theft, vandalism, or violence at these places, which may endanger the safety and security of the women.


The scheme of giving toll points to women is a remarkable and revolutionary step taken by the Madhya Pradesh government to empower and uplift the women of the state. It is a shining example of how the state is committed to making Madhya Pradesh a more inclusive and prosperous state. It is also a source of inspiration and motivation for other states and countries to follow suit and implement similar schemes for their women.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and learned something new about the scheme. If you have any feedback or suggestions for me, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

What do you think?

Written by Nilanjan

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