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Haryana govt flags nation-first pension scheme for widowers

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-03-2017 AFP

New Delhi: The Haryana government said on Monday it was considering giving monthly cash handouts to men who lose their wives, a first for a country that traditionally only provides such payments to women.

Haryana state chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the plan was to roll out the changes next year once laws had been amended.

“We are seriously considering granting a pension to widowers in line with the pensions provided to widows,” Khattar told the state assembly.

Haryana pays a monthly pension of Rs1,600 to the state’s 650,000 widows every month. But men who lose their wives receive no such payout, prompting calls for the scheme to be revised.

Local politician Ravinder Macchrouli argued that like widows, husbands also suffer when they lose their loved ones and were entitled to the payments.

There are no figures on the number of widowers in the state of 27 million people.

A widower who wrote to Macchrouli had complained that the scheme was unconstitutional as it discriminated on the basis of gender, a local newspaper reported.

Most states in India pay monthly cash payments to widows from poorer backgrounds due to concerns that some widows, especially in rural areas, may be abandoned by their families who consider them a financial burden.

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