KOLKATA: While offering a discount on commodities is a widely-used marketing strategy to boost sales, it can also be an administrative measure to enlist women in voters’ list.
An unconventional perk of additional 10 per cent discount on garments was offered by the administration of Arambagh sub-division in Hooghly district of West Bengal to women who enlisted themselves in the voters' list. The result – a growth in women voters’ numbers vis-à-vis male voters, according to the final electoral roll of 2018 published on Wednesday. The measure was taken in view of the low enrolment of women in the voters' list in the sub-division.
“We offered the women enlisting their names in the voters' list an additional 10 per cent discount on any garment they purchased from the local markets. It worked and we witnessed a rise in women voters in Khanakul, Arambagh, Pursurah blocks of the subdivision. We hope the numbers would increase further next year,” said Arambagh Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Prasanta Maity.
Sources revealed that discount coupons were issued to the enlisting women for one-time purchase in select garment shops in the region. The numbers of women voters per 1,000 male voters rose from 930 last year to 936 this year in Arambagh subdivision. The corresponding rise in number of women voters over the past one year in the blocks are 935 from 927 in Pursurah, 954 from 951 in Arambagh, 954 to 939 in Goghat and 913 from 906 in Khanakul blocks. There are a total of 9,81,331 voters in Arambagh sub-division according to the latest list, of which 5,68,024 are males and 4,74,501 are women.
“It’s ironical that despite having a woman MP, Aparupa Poddar of Trinamool Congress, the electorate in Arambagh sub-division of Hooghly district is still conservative and patriarchal. Apart from such innovative government schemes, massive sensitisation is required,” said sociologist Sharmila Ghosh.