Lady luck is set to swing the odds in favour of women in the MHADA housing lottery.
In a bid to empower women, the Maharashtra Housing And Area Development Authority has proposed to reserve 33 per cent homes for the homemaker starting with the next lottery. According to a senior MHADA officer involved in the drafting of the proposal, the housing authority is sending the proposal to the government, to have roughly a third of the houses for women, in each category in the forthcoming lottery reserved for women.
According to a senior officer from MHADA’s Mumbai board, the reservation in the housing lottery is to empower women. “It may be symbolic but the feeling of owning a home gives women the realisation that they possess something that’s completely theirs. The move would empower them not only emotionally but also financially,” said the officer.
According to sources in MHADA, the reservation for women in MHADA homes won’t affect existing reservations for any community, caste or group.
The officer added that the reservation for women would be within the existing reserved categories and wouldn’t disturb the share of any group on the whole.
“The reservation doesn’t take away the existing rights from people of any community, caste or group. For example, if there are 50 homes in the general category, then in the same category nearly 16 (that is, 33 per cent) homes will be reserved for women. Similarly, if there are 10 homes in the SC/ST category, then three would be reserved for women belonging to the community. So while we are empowering women we would see to it that it doesn’t go only to the upper class women, but to those belonging to every stratum in the society,” said the officer.
The proposal will be sent to the state government and after the government’s approval, MHADA will add the reservation from the next lottery.
Advocate Abha Singh welcomed the move.
“In spite of being nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population, women hardly own 2 per cent of the total property. This will empower women economically. No one can throw them out of their own home. The fight a woman faces during divorce and after would be reduced.”
Social activist Medha Patkar claims that MHADA’s initiative is good but it shouldn’t be a token gesture.
“Earlier, the government had plans of giving equal share to a woman in her man’s property. I am not sure where it has reached now. But if MHADA, a housing authority, is planning such a thing, we expect that it should plan it thoroughly to really enable women,” said Patkar.