Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan made the third state women policy draft public on Friday inviting suggestions and objections in the next two months so that a final policy can be prepared.
From economic empowerment of women by offering them loans at a relatively lower rate of interest to reserving 10% plots for women in state industrial townships, the proposed provisions also focus on social empowerment of women of all ages.
The state also plans to constitute a censor board for television, make sanitary napkins available in schools and ensure that government hospitals have special cells for the counselling of victims of sexual assault.
After making the policy draft public by uploading it on a website at a function in Balewadi, Pune, Chavan said: “Through the women policy, the government wants to socially empower women.”
He announced that the government will organise regular hearings exclusively for women while fast-track courts would be set up to deal with crime against women.
A separate building for women and child commissionerate in Pune was also on the cards, according to Chavan.
The draft will be converted into a policy once the state considers the suggestions and objections, if any, and makes changes.
The 76-page proposed policy, divided into 15 chapters, also says the state will bring down the period of living separately for women who want a divorce from two years to one year.
Minister for women and child welfare Varsha Gaikwad said a team of 100 women from various fields prepared the women policy draft.
Women’s rights activist Kiran Moghe said: “It’s a welcome move even as the proposed provisions do not address substantive issues of women. Also, the state should review its two previous policies and see how much work has been done.”