With the civic general elections just around the corner, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come out with a trump card to woo urban poor women voters in the city.
A Rs15 crore proposal will be tabled in the standing committee on Friday to appoint CB Kora Institute to enroll 7,500 women in various vocational courses for a year. The funds are being allocated under the gender budget, which was included in this year's outlay. Under this budget, a special financial provision had been made for several schemes for women and child welfare.
These schemes include basic skill training in courses through which women can earn a living. These schemes can be availed by women whose families fall below the poverty line (BPL).
The BMC has decided to appoint CB Kora Institute Village Industries, under the aegis of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, to provide training to these women. The institute, which received the national award as best training institute in 2010-11, has its city centre at Borivli.
But the opposition is not amused. "The Shiv-Sena BJP alliance didn't feel the need to spend a single paisa from the gender budget through the entire year. They are waking up just before the elections," said Congress corporator Rajendraprasad Chaube.
To which, standing committee chairman and Sena Corporator Rahul Shewale said, "The common man has always been the focus during the BMC budget. We are not making this budget provision just because the elections are approaching."
The gender budget concept was initiated by the then-Mayor Shubha Raul in 2009. During her tenure, a special head was created especially for gender budget. However, last year the BMC had not undertaken any projects under the allocation.