The Cabinet and the Rajya Sabha has cleared the amendments to the maternity benefits bill. The cleared amendments are a huge step taken to encourage women to join the work force, which is significant in the light of the fact that women work force had decreased adding to the other woeful numbers that define Indian women work force.
The amendments made, will double the maternity benefits from the present three months to six months for companies that employ more than 10 people. The Bill also has made some progressive changes with respect to surrogate mothers. Three months of maternity leave will also be provided to women who choose surrogate mothers. Companies employing more than 50 people will have to provide crèche facilities.
All these Amendments are largely welcome, however, more reforms would be required to improve the conditions of working women and thereby increasing their work force participation. India fares really poor with respect to women in work force, percentage of women participating in work force is the lowest in India among the BRICS nation. This is besides the fact that work force participation of women have decreased in the last year which is a very worrisome development for India’s aspiration to become a developed nation where men and women have equal opportunities.
The Logical Indian congratulates the parliament on the passing of this progressive legislation. Let us hope this is the first among many steps in improving the conditions for working women in India.