Single women of Tamil Nadu, who are unmarried, separated from their husbands or families can avail themselves of ration cards from the civil supplies department. The government said the women would be recognised as 'family', which is usually described to mention a household with multiple members.
The procurement of the card will be the same for all. The applicant must have a kitchen with a gas connection or some other cooking facility to avail of the new card. She must submit a written self-declaration of residing alone, along with her Aadhar card and gas bill details. Following this, the house will be audited by Revenue Inspector, The New Indian Express reported.
The amendment in the criteria has been made to provide ease to women, who have parted way with their partners without legal separation, are unable to get ration cards.
As per the current rules, the name of a family member can only be removed from the ration card if the person has passed away, been married, adopted, or divorced. From now on, the name can be added to the documents submitted to avail a new card.
"When a husband is unwilling to remove the name of his wife, who lives separately, the woman is losing her food security guaranteed under the Constitution. Hence, based on the self-declaration of the woman, followed by a field verification report, Civil Supplies zonal officers can remove her name from the husband's ration card and issue her a fresh one," the media quoted the official statement.
Earlier, a married woman living separately with or without children was not eligible unless legally separated. Unmarried women were not considered 'family', given that they lived with their parents, but this kept the women, who parted from parents, devoid of the benefits.
Benefits Will Be Availed By Vulnerable
The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said that the benefits would reach the needy. The women's wing had raised the concern of ration cards for single women multiple times, especially those from the lower-income strata.
The organisation said it was the state government's one of the best and progressive decisions. AIDWA State Secretary SK Ponnuthayi said the women could not receive the benefits during Pongal and other festivals amid the lockdown as they lacked ration cards. "The decision will be food security and ensure that all the benefits reach the needy," Ponnuthayi added.
Speaking on the concept of 'one ration card for one family, senior advocate Sudha Ramalingam said there was no rationality. "We are always guided by patriarchy. It's due to custom that women live in the husband's family and cannot avail benefits on their own," the advocate said.