The Maharashtra government on Wednesday allocated Rs 10 crore every year for the effective implementation of the Anti-Superstition Act.
The government has formed a committee to look after the act’s implementation under Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde. Anti-superstition activist Shyam Manav will be co-head of the committee.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the finance minister of the state, said the funds will be utilised for creating awareness about the act. He has also decided to appoint regionwise conveyors to oversee the implementation of the act. Pawar has made it clear that the funds for implementation of the act could be hiked if need arises.
Munde said that the state level committee will work towards creating awareness about the act. We will also work towards developing scientific approach among the people as well as abolishing the ill practices in the society, he said.
The committee has planned to organise public rallies, training sessions for orators, police officers and journalists. It will also try to set up anti-superstition committees in every college and will conduct workshops for students and teachers. Our aim to create self confident and society oriented generation, Manav said.
The state government had enacted the Anti-Superstition Act in 2013 after the murder of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune. The government had made an annual provision of Rs 10 crore for implementation of the act. However, the provision had remained only on paper.
Maharashtra is the first Indian state to have an act against superstition. The act has a provision of stringent punishment if someone found following aghori and self harming practices. Punishment for several acts such as performing Satyanarayan pooja and killing animals before an idol were removed from the original act after stringent opposition from Sanatan Sanstha. The Sanstha had alleged that the act was mainly against the rituals in Sanatan Dharma.