April 29, 2021 12:21:31 am
The Pune district administration has till now distributed close to Rs 8 crore in the form of Covid relief aid directly to bank accounts of around 5,300 commercial sex workers (CSWs) in Pune district. The aid will be further provided to close to 1,700 more CSWs with additional aid for those who have school-going children.
The Supreme Court, in a ruling in September last year, had ordered that aid in the form or ration and direct money transfer be given to women dependent on commercial sex work. The apex court had said this Covid relief aid should be given without asking for any identity proof from these women.
Subsequent to the Supreme Court ruling, the Maharashtra government had decided that aid of Rs 5,000 per month will be distributed to the CSWs and an additional aid of Rs 2,500 per month will be given to those woman who have school-going children. The assistance was announced for the months of October 2020 to December 2020.
A district-level committee was set up under the chairmanship of District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh, with District Woman and Child Development Officer Ashwini Kamble as secretary. The committee held multiple meetings and officials from the Woman and Child Development wing held meetings with the representatives of various NGOs working with CSWs. The data of these woman and their bank accounts was collated with the help of the District AIDS Prevention and Control unit.
The district administration collated the data on 7,011 CSWs in the district and based on requirement to transfer Rs 5,000 per month for three months and Rs 2,500 per month more for those with school-going children, total funds of Rs 11.26 crore has been set aside from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
In two phases of direct funds transfer, the district administration has till now distributed Rs 7.94 crore to a total of 5,296 CSWs. The further process of transferring the funds to remaining 1,715 CSWs and also distribute funds meant for school-going children will start soon, officials said.
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