With a strong focus on ‘women-power’, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government gifted a slew of benefits and schemes for girls and women coinciding with the International Women’s Day being celebrated globally, in the state Budget 2021-2022, here on Monday.

Presenting the budget, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced an outlay of Rs 2,247 crore for executing various schemes through the Women & Child Development Department.

The Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress MVA government has given a concession of 1 percent in Stamp Duty over the prevailing rates exclusively for women, provided the transfer of house/property or registration of sale deed is in the name of a woman/women only.

“The scheme will be known as ‘Rajmata Jijau Griha-Swamini Yojana’ The woman gives meaning to the house and it is not wrong for her to expect ownership in the property. It’s part of the women’s empowerment process,” said Pawar, tabling the budget.

However, this would entail a revenue loss of around Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer which he balanced by slapping additional VAT and State Excise Duty on different types of liquors.

Pawar said Maharashtra has always led in policy-making for women and has taken many progressive steps for girls education, making it free till Class 12.

He announced a new scheme for free travel for girls in rural areas, from their village homes to schools/colleges via Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses.

The scheme is launched as ‘Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule’ and the state will also provide 1,500 eco-friendly CNG and Hybrid buses to the MSRTC on priority, Pawar said.

Another scheme, ‘Tejasvini Yojana’ will provide special buses for women in urban/metro centres for safe and easy commute.

Under the ‘Nav-Tejaswini Maharashtra Gramin Mahila Udyam Vikas’ a 6-year project funded by International Funds for Agriculture Development to the tune of Rs 523 crore, women and self-help groups will get opportunities to improve livelihood and result in value additions to their enterprises.

To empower women and children, the state has already reserved 3 percent from the District Annual Plans through which around Rs 300 crore would be available each year, said Pawar.

He announced the formation of the India’s first women’s battalion of the State Reserve Police Force in the country which is expected to come up soon.

–IANS

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