This is a first in the city. The BMC has decided to create separate policies that look into multi-purpose housing for working women (MSWW), old-age homes for elderly and care centres and hostels for students. The civic body has decided to focus on these facilities after the Development Plan (DP) 2034 stressed the need for them. And according to the BMC budget presented recently, the civic body has already allotted Rs1 crore for the MSWW.
Starting 2017-18, the BMC has linked the budget with the DP. This year, it allocated more than Rs2,000 crore to build facilities marked in the DP. Senior officials said as the women’s housing pilot plan was ready, it was included in the budget. The rest of the policies are under process, they said.
The DP department, along with NGOs, are creating a pilot centre in the P-South ward (which includes Goregaon). The plot is already in the BMC’s possession. According to officials, the policies, which are in the draft stage, will look at the ways in which these facility centres should be developed, agencies that should handle the maintenance, terms and conditions for developing these centres, among others. The BMC has also partnered with agencies like Akshara, Stree Mukti Sangathana, the Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan (HSMA) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
Officials said they are also looking at case studies of already established centres in the city to better the services. A senior official said, “Such kind of facility centres have never come in the municipal purview. Therefore, it is essential to put terms and conditions in place. Once the DP gets finalised, the land acquisition of these plots will begin, which is why the groundwork in terms of policies needs to be ready.”
A six-member committee recently made its recommendations on the DP, after which it will now be passed by the 227-elected general body by the end of May. The BMC faced flak for not including a gender perspective in the plan in 2015. The revised plan then included an allotment of 2,000 sqm in every ward to empower women.
According to the 2011 Census, the city has a population of 1.27 crore, of which 45% are women. Of the total 57.41 lakh women, around eight lakh are working women while more than 20 lakh commute daily to places such as schools, shops and establishments.
Dr Nandita Shah, co-director at Akshara, a group of women activists, said, “The whole idea is to have a vision about supporting working women in the city. A policy will ensure rules and regulations are in place for efficient agencies to handle these centres.”