Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made the following two statements with respect to passport.
It is not mandatory for a woman to submit her marriage certificate or divorce decree while applying for passport
A woman can choose whether the name in the passport should be of her mother or the father and not both parents.
However, The Logical Indian checked the instructions for filling the passport application form and found that this was never a requirement. The announcement by PM Modi was misrepresented and got widely shared as an important news piece and many media houses published it without verifying any details about the same.
On the issue of name change, the instructions by Passport Seva on the application form clearly states that, for a woman who has retained her maiden name (the name a woman is given at birth) after marriage, nothing changes. Only those who have even “marginally changed” their name, have to specify the same, irrespective of the gender of the applicant.
Testimonies of several women in social media suggest the same, at the same time many women complained of harassment from passport officers because the women didn’t change their surname.
Wasn't that the case for many years now? I haven't changed my surname post marriage & had no issues with that when I renewed my passport. https://t.co/4iDW2ocKEX
Furthermore, to enable transparency in the law on a woman’s name after her marriage, the Bombay High Court in 2011 had amended a crucial rule under the Family Courts Act to prevent a woman from being compelled to file any marriage-related proceedings only in her husband’s surname.
A woman can file proceedings either in her maiden name, her name after marriage, or any other name she may have adopted, as long as it is officially registered in the gazette.
In his statement, PM Modi also said that “women need not submit marriage/divorce certificates for passports.” The Ministry Of External Affairs has introduced modifications in the rules for issuing the Passport in December 2016 which states that
“Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate,” the notification reads. “The Passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.”
Only while applying for the passport of a minor, the notification says that it is mandatory to add the spouse’s name, in case it’s not already added in the past.
The Logical Indian Take
The statements made by the PM are equally applicable to a woman as well as a man as per the new passport rules. Most media houses misinterpreted the PM’s second statement and reported as if he was referring to the woman’s maiden name in the passport. They went to the extent of saying that this is something new and has not existed before. The media not only misinterpreted but also misreported the PM’s speech.
It is not the intent of The Logical Indian to demean, belittle or cast doubt on the credibility of the mentioned legacy media outlets. The media is the fourth pillar of democracy and it holds limitless influence in a vibrant democracy like India. However, when mainstream media outlets engage in popularising false or fake news stories – when the mainstream media does not take it upon itself to fact-check every bit of news story that it publishes, it can have disastrous consequences on the national debate. This is especially significant because we live in an era where WhatsApp forwards and tweets (that don’t require verification or are not bound by journalistic ethics) are getting undue traction and following. In such a time, if even reputed mainstream outlets give into the shouting matches and falsehoods of false news, it negatively affects us all.
It is the 21st century and India is developing rapidly, however, the pace of development in rural and urban India is varying due to the lack of accessibility and opportunities in rural India. While children in these areas have limited access to quality education leading to unemployment and social exclusion, women are still at the back seat of household decision making and contribution to household income.
To break through the traditional norms and empower women in rural India is an ongoing endeavor. Project Nand Ghar, spearheaded by Vedanta Group, a globally diversified natural resources company, brings a ray of hope to rural India by providing education, nutrition, and healthcare to thousands of rural children and empowering women to gain economic independence through livelihood training workshops.
Nand Ghars are state-of-the-art modern Anganwadis built across rural India with a holistic approach to child welfare and skill development for women. Trade-based skill training workshops carried out at Nand Ghars have impacted women from the remotest part of the country enabling them to earn their own livelihood.
Their recent campaign on International Women’s Day was a celebration of #BalanceForBetter where women shared their stories of discovering pathways to self-reliance with help and support by Nand Ghar.
“The outside world was a far off reality for me from inside the boundary of our house. Nand Ghar helped open up the horizons and today, I am earning a livelihood and have found a purpose in Life,” says Dharma Maurya from Varanasi.
Thousands of women like Dharma Maurya have in them the urge to do something but do not have a platform, to begin with. Nand Ghar is giving them a purpose in life and wings to their dreams. Click on the link below to explore their stories.
Anil Agarwal, Founder, and Chairman, Vedanta Group, believes that a nation can only progress if we invest in the future of children and women. Vedanta in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development aims at constructing 4000 Nand Ghars across 11 states in India with the potential of impacting lives of 8.5 Cr children and 2 Cr women in rural India.
In a milestone achievement, Vedanta recently announced the inauguration of its’ 500th Nand Ghar at Chaksu Block in Jaipur. Today, 502 operational Nand Ghars across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh are changing the lives of 17,000 children through pre-school learning imparted through advanced teaching with more than 11,000 of them being served nutritious meals every day. More than 8,000 women have obtained trade based skill training at Nand Ghar.
With more than 70% of the population living in rural India, the need for early childhood education and women empowerment cannot be undermined. The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts of Vedanta which is tirelessly working towards transforming the women and child development landscape in India.