The Railway Ministry in a recent significant development amended one of its healthcare rules. It now allows all legally adopted children of Railway employees to seek medical benefits which were earlier extended to only one legally adopted child. The corrigendum issued on May 25 by the Railways eliminates discrimination towards adopted children in their claim to medical benefits and puts them at par with biological children.
Veena Nayak, a single mother of two adopted children and a senior officer of the Bengaluru Railway division, played an influential role in the revision of the old order by the Railways. The old order, under the provision of medical benefits to family members covered sons, daughters, stepsons, unmarried stepdaughters, and one legally adopted child. After the amendment, the order replaced "one legally adopted child" with "legally adopted children", with the condition of the adopted children being subject to the prescribed age limit and provided they are wholly dependent on the employee.
The office superintendent in the engineering department of Bengaluru Railway Division, along with the support of her senior staff members, had taken the case up when her younger kid was limited from the facility of procurement of the Unique Medical Identity Card, reported The New Indian Express.
The card is issued to all family members of present and past railway employees, which enables them to avail treatment at any railway hospital in the country.
Avinash Kumar, the founder of a voluntary organisation called Families of Joy had also filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court in 2019 regarding the same issue, to which the Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA) had then said that "These are dated letters of the Railways and definitely requires to be revisited and amended in line with the present laws," reported Times of India.