Ahooja Committee Report
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S
No monetary payment can be an adequate compensation for the loss of life. What can be done is to reduce the trauma undergone by the widow and the children and to mitigate their hardships due to the loss of the bread earner. Payment of money either in lump sum or in installments or over life time can not also create conditions of normalcy, which can only be brought about by making the widow and the children self-supporting. The Administration did make efforts to provide suitable training to some of the widows to enable them to stand on their own feet but such schemes did not meet with any significant success. There were difficulties because widows had small children at home or because they had to travel long distances or again because the wages were not commensurate with their needs. The subsequent efforts made by the Administration to provide Government jobs to such widows, particularly in schools, evoked much greater response. So far Delhi Administration has been able to provide jobs to 371 such widows out of nearly 700 who have applied. Of these 292 have joined the jobs offered to them. Since then repeated demands have been received from the remaining 300 and odd widows that they should also be given similar jobs. As the Delhi Administration is not bale to find any more jobs for the remaining cases, it is necessary that the Government of India should also step in, in a big way, and immediately provide jobs for the remaining 300 widows by relaxing suitably rules on recruitment pertaining to age, educational qualifications and experience.
There are a number of widows who because of age or lack of education cannot fit in any job. The Directorate of Social Welfare did initiate a scheme to grant old age pension in such cases but the amount so sanctioned namely Rs.60/- per month was far too inadequate considering the present level of prices. In any case, the scheme was given up after a few months. As these old widows do not have any one to take care of them, in my view the responsibility lies on the State to look after them. I would, therefore, recommend that a minimum pension of Rs.500/- per widow should be given to those who are above 55 years of age, for life provided no employment has been given to them or to any of their children by the Administration.
Another category, which requires special care and attention, is that of the children of the deceased. The Administration does of course; provide free education to them in its schools. But the exemption of tuition fee alone cannot be sufficient to meet the needs of these children. They would require money for purchase of books, uniforms, transport etc. I would, therefore, recommend that a monthly stipend of Rs.50/- per child for those studying upto the Higher Secondary and Rs.100/- per child for those studying in colleges should also be allowed by the Government in r/o the children of the deceased.
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