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

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Desist from academic censorship, stop threatening scholars: Letter to ICMR

Counterview Desk  In a letter to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director, the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) which consists of prominent health experts, has insisted that the Government of India’s top medical research agency should lead high quality research on vaccine safety and “desist from academic censorship”.

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .”