Mumbai: Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Ajit Pawar on Wednesday pointed out that there is not a single woman in the state cabinet. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was speaking in the Assembly on a resolution moved by Speaker Rahul Narvekar urging the government to formulate a new women’s policy.
‘I can not understand what is the problem. The limit of 43 ministers (the maximum strength the state cabinet can have) has not yet been exhausted. Women make up 50% of the population but the state does not have a single woman minister’, Pawar said. The alliance government of Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party which came to power in June 2022 has 20 ministers including the chief minister.
To mark International Women’s Day, the Assembly discussed the proposed fourth women’s policy. Pawar said the new policy should provide social security for women and also their financial empowerment. Domestic violence is often not reported because women do not speak out about such issues and the new policy should address this problem, the Leader of Opposition added.
NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal praised the decision of the BJP government in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh to provide an allowance of Rs 1,000 per month to women from the financially weaker section. There was a time when Maharashtra took the lead in introducing such measures, the former minister said. Bhujbal also demanded that the House pass a resolution demanding 50% quota for women in Parliament and state legislatures. Bhaskar Jadhav of the Shiv Sena (UBT) said social awareness was necessary for empowering women.