Days after reserving 20% industrial land for people belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST), the state government is now toying with the idea of making a special industrial policy for women. The proposed policy will offer incentives to women industrialists and entrepreneurs while also reserving a percentage of industrial plots for them.The industries department is currently evaluating the proposal put forth by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Department, highly placed sources in Mantralaya told dna. A top official from the industries department confirmed the development and said, “The WCD department came up with the idea when we sought its suggestions on the SC/ST policy last month. It has asked us to consider a policy to support women industrialists as well.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A special scheme for women entrepreneurs is a good idea. Some women organisations are also batting for it. Work on this plan will start after the Make in India Week,” said the official, pointing to the department’s hectic schedule up to February 18.The official added that the government would like to restructure a few existing schemes and institutions catering to women, like the Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamadal, to create an umbrella organisation which would take care of the execution of the special industrial policy.The proposal has come in the backdrop of the SC/ST policy approved in the first week of February by the state. In a bid to further strengthen its investor-friendly image ahead of the Make in India Week, the state unveiled the policy which seeks to reserve 20% industrial plot for SC/ST industrialists. It also coincided with the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar; the scheme has been named after him.Under the scheme, the government has decided to provide interest subsidy to micro, small and medium enterprises for the new manufacturing unit being promoted by an investor from the SC/ST categories. It offers 30% subsidy (with a cap of Rs10 lakh) on the land cost in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation areas.A capital subsidy of 15-30% will be provided for units coming up in remote and underdeveloped areas. For a start-up unit, additional 10% incentive will be provided. A subsidy in electricity duty will be offered for five years after payment of due charges for use of power.The SC/ST entrepreneurs will also get rebate in power tariff for five years. Over 15-20% subsidy will be extended to them on capital investment. While the government seeks to project its progressive and pro-Dalit and pro-women image by bringing twin social upliftment policies, observers see them with political lens. Tribals constitute 10% of state’s population so as SCs. Women form half the state.”Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad has tarnished BJP-led central government’s image among Dalits considerably. Moreover, inept handling of the Shani Shingnapur temple case by the Maharashtra government, especially the CM, who also handles the Home portfolio, has angered women. These special schemes appear as a damage-control exercise to manage the two vote banks which had supported the party in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls,” said an analyst.

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Maharashtra mulls special industrial policy for women