Skip to main content

Action Aid-supported Gujarat study says, despite 10-year campaign one-fourth of widows get govt pension

Participants at the conference on single women in Ahmedabad
Counterview Desk
Representing single women, mainly widows and divorced poor women, Ekal Nari Shakti Manch (ENSM), a Gujarat-based non-government organization (NGO), has said that despite its decade-old campaign, just about 27 per cent eligible widows are able to get pension they are eligible to get. Results of a survey of single women in Gujarat by the ENMS – which is supported by high-profile NGO Action Act that has its head office in Johannesburg and branches all over the world – say that of the 1,714 widows it interviewed just 465 get pension.
The survey further said that there are 197 women whose pension had begun but for some reason it was stopped. It did not reveal reason for this. Then, 217 women filled up pension form but they have not yet begun getting it. ENMS’ senior activist Hansaben Rathod told Counterview that the organization was “instrumental, following its advocacy efforts which began in 2003, to raise widows’ pension from Rs 550 to Rs 950 per month in 2012.” She alleged, “At that time, present chief minister Anandiben Patel wanted to drop the very idea widow pension.”
Released at the three-day meet of single women, held at the Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), Ahmedabad, the study found that of the 1,949 women interviewed – consisting of 1,714 widows, 92 divorced and rest of them living alone for different social reasons – 1804 have ration card, 780 are below poverty line (BPL), 277 antyodaya (poorest of the poor), and 536 are above poverty line. It added, of the interviewed women, just about nine per cent, or 181, have landed property in their name, and 573 (29 per cent) have residence in their name.
Carried out in nine districts – Sabarkantha, Tapi, Surat, Patan, Junagadh, Amreli, Kutch, Ahmedabad and Kheda – the survey was carried out in 111 villages and a few urban blocks. Majority of the women surveyed are in the age group 40 to 50 – 764, followed by 545 in the age group 30 to 40, 307 in the age group 18 to 30, 186 in the age group 50 to 65, and 71 aged 65 and above. Majority of them are illiterate – a whopping 73 per cent or 1,420.
Single women telling their stories to participants
Further, the survey said, 990 women – or about 51 per cent – survive as agricultural workers, but just about 24 per cent, or 471, have been able to obtain job under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). “Some of the women told us during interviews that they earn as less as Rs 10 per day for making garland of flowers”, Rathod said. “The primary reason for the survey was to find out the status of single women suffering from sexual exploitation, failure to get property rights, and suffering from social stigma in rural society.”
The study carries several individual interviews. Maliben Barot of Bhachau in Kutch district, abandoned by her husband, lived with her brother and sister-in-law, but was forced to get out of the house, is currently homeless. Kantaben Mer of Bavla in Ahmedabad district, on her husband’s death, began living with her brother, and works as a wage worker. Gitaben Chamar of Radhanpur in Patan distrist is a victim of domestic violence, abandoned, lives in a rented hut and lives by earning wages. Rashidaben Ansari of Bombay Hotel in Ahmedabad is a widow and lives alone in a rented house in the slum areas, and earns by making garlands.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).