Kolkata: The state government of West Bengal announced a scheme by which sex workers would be rehabilitated through an alternative means of livelihood. West Bengal Women Welfare Minister Shashi Panja said that the scheme, christened ‘Muktir Alo’(Ray of Freedom) by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will help these women to bring them back to the mainstream of the society.West Bengal minister for Women and Social Welfare department, Sashi Panja said that the proposal has received approval from the State Cabinet. Plans are being made for venue and the streams of trainings. The scheme will soon be inaugurated, she said.Sashi Panja said that the women who has been forced to work as sex workers and those who have been trafficked, will be trained in different skills to become self sufficient.
Details of the scheme:
Muktir Alo is totally a State funded newly introduced comprehensive scheme for rehabilitation of Commercial Sex Workers. The scheme is intended for providing skill up-gradation and capacity building of the sex workers who wish to leave the profession to enable them to start a life afresh through alternative livelihood options. This scheme is also intended to provide dignified opportunities to the women who have been drawn into the profession of sex work by force or otherwise.
The scheme will have provision for immediate relief and long term rehabilitation initiative through technical / vocational training. Under immediate relief there is a provision of stipend of Rs. 2,500/- per month per head up to 9 (nine) months. Under long term rehabilitation relief there is provision for Institutional Care to the beneficiaries where all the maintenance cost will be borne from the scheme.
Annual estimated expenditure for the newly introduced Scheme Muktir Alo is Rs. 66,71,000/- (sixty six lakh seventy one thousand only). Women Development and Social Welfare Department has selected Women Development Undertaking as the Nodal Agency for implementation of the Scheme on behalf of the Department. In turn Women Interlink Foundation has been selected as NGO for implementation of the Scheme.
The project will provide opportunities to girls and young women who are rescued from trafficking and red-light areas to become self-reliant economically and helping them to develop the confidence to live and work independently and fulfill their dreams. The WD and Social Welfare Department has resolved that Women’s Interlink Foundation will organize vocational training on Block Printing and Spice Grinding at Nijaloy Home located at Madhyamgram, North 24 Parganas for 25 trainees on each trade.