Though the civic body has finally managed to revive a scheme to empower urban poor women after it lapsed two years in a row,it has evoked a lukewarm response.
A lack of initiative from the civic body,coupled with low awareness about the scheme,has led to the poor response. The scheme aims at providing sewing machines,roti makers,beauty course kits,idli makers,papad makers,sewaiya makers and masala grinders to beneficiaries. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received only 2,400 applications from the estimated five lakh- odd below poverty line (BPL) families across the city.
S Mahangade,assistant municipal commissioner,Planning Cell,BMC,said: Only 1,900 of the 2,400 applicants are eligible as BPL families. There were no awareness campaigns through corporators and ward-level committee chairmen in all seven zones,which led to this poor response. We hope from next year,more women from BPL families will apply for this scheme.
According to the BMCs 2005-06 survey,which covered 14.6 lakh families,Mumbai has around 25 lakh BPL people and around 4.94 lakh BPL families.
Standing Committee chairman Rahul Shewale said,The BMC at present lacks Community Development Officers (CDOs) who are supposed to go door-to-door and inform families about the scheme. Also,as the civic administration is yet to formalise the BPL family list in the city,we have only considered those beneficiaries who have applied.
He said the civic body could reach out to BPL families through other schemes once the BMC has an updated list of them. Another scheme,Mahila Bachat-Gath Scheme,which aims at providing urban poor women self-employment,has been in the back burner for two years. The scheme meant for women of BPL families lapsed in 2009 and 2010 due to problems in tender. After several attempts,the scheme was re-introduced last year,but later got delayed as the BMC could not find any private company willing to supply goods to beneficiaries as it was not a lucrative option.
The civic body has now roped in a city-based womens NGO to supply the goods,worth Rs 4 crore. Civic bodys statutory committee also passed a proposal this month to give free ghar ghantis (flour mills) to women from BPL families. The civic body will spend additional Rs 1.78 crore for this scheme.