Maha budget: Concession in stamp duty for women, special SRPF battalion
On International Women’s Day, the Maharashtra government unleashed a slew of measures for women’s welfare in its annual budget, including concessions in stamp duty for property registration, free travel for girls in rural areas, special buses for women in urban pockets and establishment of a first women battalion of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF).
State finance minister Ajit Pawar unveiled the Rajmata Jijau Griha-Swamini Yojna, that ensures concessions of 1% in stamp duty if the registration of the house will be done in the name of a woman. Currently, the homebuyer has to pay up to 4% of agreement value of the property as stamp duty.
Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson, Nahar group, said the move will play a vital role in empowerment of women. “It is actually the females who play a vital role in choosing the property. She knows what is needed for her family. When it comes to registration, it is mainly the man who gets preference. However ,now we are seeing many cases of joint ownership. This step will help many women be the sole owners of property,” said Yagnik.
Meanwhile, the Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule scheme will allow free travel for girl students in rural areas, from their villages to the schools, via Maharashtra State Transport buses. The state will also make provisions to provide 1,500 environment-friendly CNG and hybrid buses to the State Transport Corporation on a priority basis.
Another important scheme is additional buses for the “Tejasvini Yojna” scheme for easy and safe travel of women in metro cities. Pawar said that he has proposed to reserve 3% funds from the District Plan for women and children.
He also announced the formation of the first women battalion of the SRPF.
Dr Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara centre, a non-profit organisation (NGO), working for the rights of women, welcomed the initiatives. “For years, women were never given so much importance and if the state is taking steps for their welfare, then it is a welcome move. The issue of mobility is very important from a safety point of view and also families are not ready to shell money for women,” said Shah. She further said that instead of just raising a separate women battalion in SRPF, women should be included in every walk of life. She, however, said that at least 4.50 % of the funds should be allocated to women and children, instead of the proposed 3%.