The Maharashtra prison department, in collaboration with Bank of Maharashtra, has started a rehabilitation programme for inmates by providing them loans to start a trade or business of their choice. Sources said the move is aimed at skill development and training in the prison, followed by making them financially self-sufficient after they are released.
The programme was inaugurated on December 7 by Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General of Prisons Atul Kulkarni in Yerwada Central Jail in Pune. Also present were Deputy Inspector General (South Region and Maharashtra Prison) Yogesh Desai, Superintendent of Yerwada Jail Rani Bhosle, circle manager Vivek Dhawan and executive director of Bank of Maharashtra Vijay Kumar.
The first phase of the programme will include 30 inmates from the Yerwada jail. Atul Kulkarni said nearly 4,000 inmates from Yerwada, including undertrials and convicts, have already shown willingness for the initiative. “The first batch will be on a trial basis. Our aim is to gradually start the initiative across all jails of Maharashtra. The skill development courses under the Rural Self Employment Training Institute also have videography and photography. It also has courses in trade that inmates can choose from,” said Kulkarni.
Circle manager Vivek Dhawan said the inmates need opportunities to reblend with the society. He said the bank, through their organization called Mahabank Rural Self Employment Training Institute Mahabank-RSETI), will provide self-employment training. “When released, they will be helped with business loans, which they have to repay after earning. Maharashtra will be the first state to start such training and loan schemes,” he said.
DIG Yogesh Desai said that the prison authorities are mostly focused on the improvement and rehabilitation of inmates. He added, “But we are now planning to rehabilitate them so they are accepted back into society. Held back due to unemployment, they get involved in anti-social activities again.”
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