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Can Maharashtra’s New Government Prioritise Gender Responsive Budgets?

Major gender-related policies in Maharashtra are analysed, and the expectations from the new government in the state regarding provisions for women are outlined.

“Women’s safety shall be the highest priority for the Government,” is the very first point in its section on women in the common minimum programme (CMP) of the newly formed Maha Vikas Aghadi constituting the Shiv Sena–Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)–Congress combine in Maharashtra. This section also includes free education to girls of the marginalised communities, hostels, increase in the honorarium of anganwadi and ­accredited social health activists (ASHAs) workers and the strengthening of self-help groups.

While a number of important areas concerning women have not been included in this section of the CMP, like nutrition and health, quality employment, access to land rights, etc, the focus on women’s safety is indeed a welcome sign. This is especially so in the context of a continual increase in the instances of crimes against women, children and transpersons. If one looks at just the official data on crimes against women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data for 2017, made available only in October 2019, the number of crimes against women increased in 2017 by 6% compared to the 2016 figures, and by 9% as compared to 2015 data, from about 3.3 lakh in 2015 to about 3.6 lakh in 2017. Maharashtra comes second with 31,979 cases, with Uttar Pradesh “topping” the list of states (Hindu 2019).

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Updated On : 10th Feb, 2020

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