The Maharashtra government has increased the budgetary allocation for a grant-in-aid scheme to provide financial assistance to released convicts to help them get self-employed, from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 1 crore per year this month, reported The Indian Express.
For many prisoners who are released after many years of imprisonment, it is difficult to return to their previous employment due to social stigma and the inability to find a livelihood. Through the scheme, which has been in place in the state for over three decades, prisoners can get Rs 25,000 after their release after submitting a proposal to the district probation officer under the Women and Child Development (WCD) department.
The convict is expected to submit a proposal on the business they want to start and other required documents.
Following the suggestions of Prayas, a field action project of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) that works in prisons and was appointed as amicus curiae by the Bombay High Court, the HC had directed the Maharashtra government to consider increasing the budgetary allocation of the scheme from Rs 12 lakh to at least Rs 2 crore.
The WCD department had also said that with the earlier budget, they were only able to process 60 applications from prisoners.
According to officials, the present budget is expected to benefit 400 convicts in the state. Under the previous annual budgetary allocation of Rs 12 lakh, each prisoner received Rs 5,000, benefitting only 50 prisoners.