On Saturday, Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, announced the updated version of the rules for pension that have been relaxed for divorced daughters. As per new scheme, daughters who are divorced or yet to be divorced will be eligible to receive family pension from now on.
The rules have been revised in a way, wherein, even if the divorce of a daughter has not been finalised — but the divorce petition has been filed by her — during the lifetime of her deceased parent employee or pensioner — she, as a daughter, will be entitled to receive the Family Pension.
Briefing the media about some of the important reforms brought in by the Department of Pensions and Petitioners’ Welfare, Dr Singh described the earlier rule which prevailed.
Initially, the system provided for payment of Family Pension to a divorced daughter only if the divorce had taken place during the lifetime of the deceased parent petitioner or his spouse. However, from now on, taking note of the daughter’s ease and standard of living, she will be entitled to parental pension income even before the divorced comes through.
Dr Singh explained the new circular and said this amendment was done so as to extend respectable and equitable rights for the divorced daughters in society.
Orders have also been issued by the ministry for grant of Family Pension to a Divyang child or sibling even if the Disability Certificate is produced after the death of the pensioner parent, however, the disability should have occurred before the death of the parents. While extending the revised rules to Divyang pensioners, Dr Jitendra Singh enhanced the Attendant Allowance for the helper from Rs 4,500 per month to Rs 6,700 per month.
Digital Life Certificate
The Minister also added that one of the most noteworthy initiatives taken by the Pension Department is with regard to the Digital Life Certificate. Keeping in view the difficulty faced by the senior citizens who have gone and settled abroad with their children after retirement, Dr Singh said, circular has been brought out on Consolidated Instructions on Life Certificate and commencement of Family Pension for those living abroad.
The concerned Bank Branch abroad and the Indian Embassy, Consulate and High Commission have been instructed to provide Life Certificate and commencement of Family Pension there itself.
Dr Singh said, at the same time, all Pension Disbursing Banks have been instructed to provide doorstep Life Certificate to those pensioners who are unable to visit the bank.
Our Take On Pension To Divorced/To Be Divorced Daughters
- Divorce in India has been looked upon as ‘end of physical ability for women’ – at whatever age and stage the same may come through
- We do not have any issue when rights are extended to both genders equally, however, the problem arises where beneficiary for every matrimonial right is a woman
- A woman who will be divorced is a beneficiary of free income from both the husband and pensioner parent (whether she has children or not)
- There is no accountability whatsoever to make her independent or self dependent (for eg: a woman who is married for merely one day enjoys equal benefits to that of a woman who gets divorced after 10 years)
- The husband is supposed to pay her lifelong alimony along with provision for a residence – all this even if he is not at fault (the woman of course can remarry at any stage after receiving alimony)
- As a daughter, the woman will receive double income from pensioner parent, even before her divorce
- So effectively, before a court verdict, even if the woman is at fault, she is entitled to free income from both ends
- The problem will arise when the pensioner parent’s income gets divided between siblings – lets say brother and to be divorced sister
- The to be divorced woman enjoys interim maintenance endlessly from husband with whom she is contesting divorce
- Without any accountability, she will also receive income from deceased parent’s pension – Thus, while receiving dual income she can choose to drag a divorce matter endlessly, till husband gives into her financial settlement demands
- Will courts account for pension income for woman while accounting for maintenance/alimony is highly subjective, as often most women exploiting husbands for alimony would try their best to suppress this income
- In all likelihood, the surviving parent will have to be maintained by the brother of the to be divorced woman, since she would have already been provided accommodation by husband
- Overall, it will be a win win situation for to be divorced women from every end, without putting any onus on her to contribute equally in the running of expenses back in her parental home
- Such steps in the name of empowerment are not progressive, but highly regressive where women are being given free doles to sustain themselves
- The feminists on other hand do not find patriarchy in this, because who does not like free money!
- Men on the other hand are being completely stripped off any rights, while laws are tweaked in a way where the sole burden will only and only rest on them – be it as a father, brother, husband or son
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