Widows – UPSC GS1

  • The number of widows in the country has increased tremendously between 2001 and 2011.
  • As per census data, the number of widows in the country was only 18.5 lakh, which was 0.7% of the total population in 2001, but in 2011, it went up to 5.6 crore, which was 4.6% of the entire population.
  • India is the home of the largest number of widows in the world, followed by China with around five crore widows.
  • Despite a law banning child marriages, there are still 1.94 lakh child widows in the country.
Steps Taken:
  • The Supreme Court appointed a committee comprising of social workers and a lawyer to suggest measures to be taken for rehabilitation of widows abandoned by their family members and to deliberate on framing a policy to promote widow remarriage in the country.
Court observation
  • Widow remarriage should be encouraged in society as it “might enable our society to give up the stereotype view of widows”.
  • The essential things, like food and drinking water, were not being provided to them.
Court directives to the committee
  • To prepare a common working plan for the welfare of widows
  • Examine all the prevailing schemes for widows and reports filed before the court by government and National Commission for Women.

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