MUMBAI: With an eye on the state assembly polls which are just three months away, state govt is considering introducing a subsidy for women, along the lines of the Ladli Behna scheme in Madhya Pradesh, which proved to be a game-changer that helped BJP return to power in the state in 2023.
Maharashtra’s scheme, which may be introduced in the budget session of the state assembly which begins later this week, aims to provide Rs 1,500 per month to impoverished women between the age of 21 and 60.
The state budget which will be tabled in the assembly is expected to provide an array of sops for different sections of society since it is the last budget before the polls.
With the voter turnout of women rising, state govts and political parties have been wooing this vote bank. According to the Election Commission of India, male voters had a marginally higher turnout (65.80%) than female voters (65.78%) in the Lok Sabha polls this year.
In 2023, the Eknath Shinde-led govt had introduced the Lek Ladki scheme in the state budget. This was aimed at encouraging families with yellow and orange ration cards to educate their daughters.
The Lek Ladki scheme provides Rs 98,000 to be released in different phases: Rs 5,000 at birth, Rs 6,000 when she is admitted to class 1, Rs 7,000 when she takes admission in class 6, Rs 8,000 when she is admitted to class 11 and Rs 75,000 when she turns 18.
The 2023-24 budget had also announced a 50% travel concession for women on state transport buses. In March 2024, the Shinde government unveiled a women’s policy – the fourth in the state so far. If focused on eight objectives including health, education, ending gender-based violence and encouraging the political participation of women.
In 2021, the state assembly had passed the Shakti Criminal Laws (Maharashtra Amendment (Act). It became the second state in India after Andhra Pradesh to approve death penalty for rape and gangrape.
In the 2021-22 state budget, govt had announced a 1% sta-mp duty concession for women if the property was registered in their name.