Under the able leadership of Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra has been very successful in battling terror, crime and unemployment. But what has been even more spectacular has been the silent reform happening in the rural and semi-rural areas of Maharashtra. No reform can be complete without the active participation of women and CM Fadnavis has been instrumental in making women a part of the reform process in Maharashtra. That is probably why women have been at the forefront in welcoming him during his Maha Janadesh Yatra.
What is it that women struggle for the most, in today’s world? Financial inclusion, safety, health, sufficient food and water at home, keeping up with the times … these are some of the main areas that women usually worry about. As one of the youngest Chief Minister of our time, Devendra Fadnavis probably had a better view of the aspirations of the women of Maharashtra and he has worked hard to alleviate their problems with long-term strategies. This shunning away of patch-work solutions will pay us great dividends in times to come too. Let us take a look at the problem areas and how the Fadnavis Government has handled them.
Self Help Groups (SHG) is one of the best ways to uplift women and include them in the Nation’s growth. To empower women, the Maharashtra government has planned multi-pronged skill development programmes across 36 districts of the state. ‘Hirkani Maharashtrachi’ is a scheme driven by the Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS), which comes under the state departments of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. 10 groups of SHGs from each taluka will receive Rs 50,000 to implement their idea while five SHGs at district level will be selected and Rs 2 lakh will be given to each SHG to take the idea forward. This will also encourage innovation and entrepreneurship at the rural level. Under the District Business Plan Competition, competitors at district level will pitch ideas, out of which five ideas will be selected from agriculture, social service, education and miscellaneous categories, and work order worth Rs 5 lakh will be given to the five selected ideas and the best ideas will be shortlisted and such entrepreneurs will be given work order by the government.
Under the MUDRA scheme, lakhs of women have been given loans in Maharashtra. It is a matter of pride that this generated maximum additional jobs of 15% as compared to the rest of India.
This year, in the Budget, the State Government has allocated Rs 2500 crores for Two more women empowerment scheme i.e. Prajwala Yojana and Navtejaswinin Yojana. The Prajwala Yojana includes organizing camps, awareness campaign in various places and under the Navtejaswinin Yojana a number of skill training programs and startups will be organized by government.
SAFETY FOR WOMEN
Security of women in Urban Areas has been increased through implementation of CCTV cameras in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, etc. to ensure women safety is a priority under the Fadnavis Government. The vigil of Railway Police Force in women’s compartments in trains and State Police on roads, especially in the night, has been increased. In a first, Mumbai police is set to install 125 facial recognition cameras across the city over the next three years as part of a Rs 252 crore security plan for women, funded by the Centre and the state. Mumbai will get an additional 1,600 CCTV cameras, two drones, GIS mapping of criminal hotspots, 100 mounted panoramic cameras on police vehicles and 100 automatic number plate recognition cameras. Online information available on missing persons, helpline number 103 in Mumbai, Thane & Navi Mumbai Police Units and Toll-free Help Line No.1091 for rest of Maharashtra, all have helped in increasing the safety of our women. The Director General of Police, Maharashtra State, Mumbai has created “Mahila Police Kaksha” in each police Station, to handle the cases regarding crime against women. 975 such cells are established till date.
Under the Manodhairya Yojana women and children who have been victims and survivors of sexual abuse, rape and acid attacks, are given appropriate support and financial assistance upto Rs. 5 lakhs. A fund of Rs.15 crores has been allotted for this scheme by the Government.
Maharashtra has launched a special scheme to curb infant deaths. Baby-care kits to the children born in primary health centres & Government hospitals are being distributed as part of its efforts to reduce the infant mortality rate under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme lead by Devendra Fadnavis. Maharashtra State is the only State in the country where it’s two districts Jalgaon & Osmanabad were felicitated with special award by Hon’ble Minister WCD, GOI, on National Girl Child Day, 24th January 2017.
From 1st August 2017, WCD Dept. Govt. of Maharashtra has started implementation of First-of-its-Kind scheme “Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree”. Under this scheme, Govt. shall provide Financial Assistance to a family of One Girl Child an amount of Rs.50,000 for a period of 18 years & if there are Two Girl Children, an amount of Rs. 25,000 each on the name of both the Girls. Funds worth Rs. 20 Crores (FY 2017-18) and Rs. 14 Crores (FY 2018-19) have been distributed for creation of Fixed Deposits.
There are total 553 Integrated Child Development Services projects operations in the State of which, 364 projects are in Rural Areas, 85 projects are in Tribal Areas and 104 projects are in Urban Slum Areas. And some of the key services being provided to the beneficiaries under this scheme are Supplementary Nutrition, Immunization, Healthcare Checkup, Referral Health Services, Non Formal Pre-School Education and Nutrition and Health Education.
KEEPING ABREAST OF TECHNOLOGY
In a clear departure from the past where women welfare projects were confined to a single ministry, the Maharashtra State government has extended it for development and empowerment of women by integrating it with the ministry of education and ministry of skill development. One of the schemes is “Skill Sakhi” where Maharashtra, with 40,000 villages, is gearing for major reforms where rural women are looking for alternative income outside agriculture. From manufacturing sectors, service sectors, agriculture to promoting cottage industries, the government is working out its plan at many levels.
Water is Life. The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) was set up by a state legislation. Today, the central water resources ministry is closely considering the Maharashtra water regulatory model for voluntary replication across states. This is because the MWRRA is so far seen as one of the most effective water regulatory mechanisms in our country. The flagship programme launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan aimed to bring water empowerment to 25,000 drought-affected villages in Maharashtra. Last year, even though there was a deficit rainfall in the state (77 per cent of the annual average), ground water extraction was up by 27 per cent. Also, 179 talukas in the state received poorer rainfall vis–vis the monsoon of 2014. Yet, 143 of them were such where the ground water level was better when compared to those in 2014. This has to be the biggest help that the Devendra Fadnavis Government has done for Women (nay, families) in the State.
One must also remember that all these schemes received the active assistance from the BJP Government at the Centre. Women Centric schemes like –
1) MUDRA loans given to 10 crores women
2) 1 crore standup loans given to women
3) Financial Security for the girl child with Sukanya Samrudhi Yojana
4) Smoke Free lives to approximately 8 crores women due to Ujjwala Yojana
5) Removal of the Instant Triple Talaq
6) Provision of Death Penalty for rape under girl child of 12 years
all have helped the women of our country. It goes without saying that when the State and Central Government work in perfect harmony, results are visible sooner.