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Woman to be family head in Food Security Bill

Last updated on: June 3, 2011 16:05 IST

Woman to be family head in Food Security Bill

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A Correspondent in New Delhi

If Minister of State for Food K V Thomas has his say in the proposed Food Security Bill, the eldest woman in the family -- and not the patriarch -- will be designated the head of family in the ration card.

He felt this shift from the current practice was necessary as the draft Bill he has forwarded to the Union Cabinet for tabling in Parliament's winter session contemplates cash transfers wherever the government is not able to provide the assured food grains.

By making a woman the head of the family, Thomas wants to ensure that men do not fritter away the money given to buy foodgrains from open market in activities like drinking and gambling.

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Photographs: Reuters
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The name of the oldest woman in the house is proposed to be put in the card as the 'head of the family'. The only condition is that she should be an adult, that is over 18 years in age. She will be designated the head irrespective of the number of men in the house older than her.

Thomas points out that certain states have already opted for cash transfer schemes and if women are listed as heads of the families, the money would go to them as they can make better use of it in buying the family ration from markets instead of men folks.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Woman to be family head in Food Security Bill

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Even the National Advisory Council did not think of empowering women in its draft Bill for the food guarantee to all, but its chairperson Sonia Gandhi will certainly be too happy to endorse initiative of Thomas, a Congress MP from Kerala.

Thomas has also ordered computerisation of the ration cards for benefits from the public distribution system (PDS) as he plans to put them in public domain to plug the menace of the bogus card holders.


Photographs: Reuters
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