Maharashtra government announces financial aid for sex workers

The Maharashtra Government has announced financial aid of ₹5000 per month for women involved in prostitution from month October to December. This aid will be given to women having i-cards from National Aids Control Organization. Additional ₹2500 will be given to women with children going to school. The state government is preparing a list of commercial sex workers (CSW) from across the state to aid their subsistence with financial assistance from the COVID-19 relief fund. The amount shall be directly credited to their bank accounts and the scheme will continue till December.

In Satara district, 154 CSWs have already been identified for relief with the assistance of NGOs. District Women and Child Development Officer Rohini Dhawale said 34 of the 154 women will receive Rs 7,500 per month as they have children. Satara district collector Shekhar Singh told Times Of India that the proposal was in its final stages and shall soon be implemented. Singh further specified that efforts were undertaken with full force to ensure the allotment of basic documents like Aadhar, Pan or Voter ID cards for them. Now IDs shall be issued by the National Aids Control Organisation that shall further reduce difficulties in the process.


The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), established in 1992 is a division of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that provides leadership to HIV/AIDS control programme in India through 35 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Societies, and is “the nodal organisation for the formulation of policy and implementation of programs for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in India.”

Officials are currently facing difficulties while registering sex workers as beneficiaries as they mostly adopt a pseudonym. Meena Sheshu of Sangli-based Sangram, an NGO assisting the CSWs, said the women were undergoing unforeseen, unimaginable difficulties as they had completely lost their source of livelihood due to the pandemic. She said many of the women had taken money from private lenders who charge as much as 150% interest rate on the borrowed amounts. This announcement proves to be a ray of hope among the disparities, as the further details are awaited.