.International widow Day: According to the United Nations, India is home to around 42 million widows. This means India only has around 40% of the world’s total widows.
We even have a city known as “City of widows’‘ Vrindavan, where widows from all over the countries come and spend rest of their lives living in Ashrams and temples in destitute situations.
Although the world has progressed much and social stigmas attached with the status of widowhood have dissolved much, in many societies due to economic disparities many of such women after losing their husbands are left to depend on the mercy of either the close relatives or children for their survival. With no means to survival and sustenance these women have to depend on meager government support for their survival.
The government of India has various schemes, which supports these women, through a monthly allowance. Although meagre, this amount becomes a great source of self-respect in certain cases where the women do not want to bank on their children for monthly allowances.
On this World Widow Day, Following, a few of the schemes introduced by Govt. Of India to support poor widows.
Vidhwa Pension Yojana
The Vidhwa Pension Yojana was introduced by the central government of India for all the states. Under the Vidhwa Pension Yojana, several state governments in the nation offer financial support to the needy, impoverished, and financially deprived widows of their state so they can live a good life.
In all states, a widow will typically receive a minimum pension of Rs. 300 per month. However, depending on the state, this payment can range from Rs. 300 to Rs. 2,000 every month. The beneficiaries would receive an old-age pension of Rs. 500 per month after they turn 80.
National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
The scheme provides one-time lump sum cash assistance of Rs. 20,000 to families living below the poverty line on the death of the primary bread-earner between the age group of 18-59. The objective of the scheme is to ensure social security for the households living below the poverty line. The payment is to be made to the widow or the unmarried daughter of the family.
The schemes provided above highlight why widows are pushed to begging because the amount of ₹300 is meagre to sustain. Even if the widows get access to the schemes, their families take away the financial support. Keeping in mind the inflation as well, the amount given to widows, seen pragmatically is not enough.
The policies have to be revamped in such a way that the financial aid has to be increased. Moreover, emotional as well as mental support has to be given as well holistically.