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The Maharashtra govt set to provide Rs. 5000/- per month and 5-kg ration to sex workers every month, starting from October until the pandemic is over, though there are questions on identification.
The Indian Express reports that the Maharashtra govt will be providing dry ration and Rs 5000/- per month to support sex workers until the pandemic is over.
The State Government also says that an additional sum of Rs.2, 500/- will be provided to their school going children. The State Women and Child Development Committee has prepared a list of 5,600 sex workers and their 1,592 children set to get financial aid and dry ration.
This decision comes at a time when sex workers are facing the worst of the pandemic, being one of the hardest hit communities in the country.
Due to the lockdown, many sex workers have lost a source of livelihood. Thus, this step is being welcomed by many in the country and is being seen as one of the vital steps to ensure that the sex workers get access to much needed financial assistance.
This aid would be given from the State’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. In September, the Supreme Court had directed all states to provide ration to sex workers and other financial assistance after Mahila Samanvay Committee, a collective of sex workers approached the Court.
Dry Ration will be distributed without the need of an identity proof. Whether or not financial assistance requires the need of an Identity Proof remains unclear. While some news sources like this in The Wire report that financial assistance requires the need of Aadhar details and a Bank Account, some don’t seem to mention anything about it.
It is important to note that the Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) has been able to pass on names of only 5,600 workers out of the 14,000 registered sex workers to the Government for financial aid.
The decision taken by the State Government to provide financial aid and dry ration to sex workers in Maharashtra is an important and necessary step in order to ensure that they can compensate the loss incurred during the pandemic to some extent, although the State Government must also ensure that any intricacies and problems being faced by sex workers in their way to become beneficiaries of the scheme is solved as early as possible, so that all sex workers in the state be able to meet their ends and overcome the monetary loss faced due to the pandemic.
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