New Delhi, Apr 19: A delegation of 'National Forum for Single Women's Rights' met Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi demanding that low-income separated and divorced women be given social security and other benefits that is being given to widows by the Centre.
During the meeting, Gandhi assured the delegation that she would hold a meeting of her Ministry's personnel and discuss matters relating to Single Women. Sharifa Chippa, representing the organisation, pointed out that according to the 2011 Census, there are 5.12 crore (51 million) single women in India, of which 4.32 crore (43 million) are widows, 23.7 lakhs are separated, 9.09 lakhs are divorced and 46.5 lakhs are older never-married women.
"This large section of Indian women certainly needs the attention of the Central Government," she added The delegation also met VS Oberoi, Principal Secretary, WCD, and discussed the need for a special Witch-Hunting Bill because many single women face atrocities that are committed on them by society, simply because of rumours that they are "witches".
He encouraged the women to look at the Indian Penal Code and ascertain if it was adequate for dealing with the atrocities of witch-hunting.
Discussions were also held with the Additional Secretary, Preeti Sudan who agreed to write to concerned Ministries about single women's needs such as raising the age limit of the Livelihood Mission's training programmes to include Single Women up to the age of 45, including additional skill training courses for women whose educational qualifications are below 5th Standard.
Nirmal Chandel, president of the organisation, pressed for the allotment of land to landless single women so that they would get a place to live and and for pursuing a livelihood.