Minister Krishna Tirath’s proposal to formulate a bill through which a percentage of a man’s salary would be transferred to his wife’s account to compensate her for the domestic work she performs for the family (“A salary plan that changes nothing,” Oct. 1) is not in accordance with the Indian culture. Indian women do not perform domestic chores out of any obligation; they do it for their family members because they care. Any government intervention in a personal relationship will seriously compromise the concepts of love and care in families.

Mohit Goyal, Sriganganagar

Many men lend a helping hand at home. If forced to pay for their wives’ services, such men will stop being cooperative. Not only will women be burdened with more work, the relationship between the couple will also turn commercial. Thanks to consumerism, marriages are increasingly falling apart with financial interests gaining preference over love and respect. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is worsening the situation by seeking to transform marriages into commercial arrangements.

Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata

Women taking care of domestic work and men going out to earn for the family have been the basic order of society for ages. The underlying belief being work outside home (not taking into account shopping, etc.) is physically tough for which men are suited better. Men cannot perform nurturing and caring functions like women. Measuring such work in economic terms would undermine the husband-wife relationship. Can a mother be paid for taking care of her child? Let us not have externally enforced rules in a private relationship.

Sulekh H. Varma, Bokaro

Our mothers and wives enter the kitchen because they love to cook for their family. And that differentiates home food from hotel food. In a family the man also does vital work, the important one being providing security. Please let mothers and wives be queens, not maids, in their own kingdom.

S. Veeraraghavan, Madurai

Instead of improving the status of women in society, the bill, if made into a law, will serve as a deterrent in the path of individualism which women have secured over the years. If a housewife is to get a part of her husband’s salary for the work she does at home, what about single women and widows?

Again, the provision that the money transferred to the wife will not be taxed may serve as a way to evade tax. It is the state which should empower women.

Madhusree Guha, Kolkata

Women should be encouraged to seek work outside their homes. The government can do its bit by extending the upper age limit of women entering government jobs. Women are not selected for jobs if they take a break for marriage and childbirth. Such tendencies discourage women from seeking jobs. They are discouraged by their parents and in-laws from going for higher studies. The government should factor in all these before putting forth a solution.

Bindita Shrimali, Nadiad

Only if the state creates high paying jobs for women, families would be willing to let them work outside their homes. Programmes targeted at enhancing the skills of rural women should especially be run so that the market is willing to absorb them at high wages. However, there are instances in which a woman is well educated and can easily get a high paying job but is forced to do household chores. In such cases, a significant portion of men’s salaries should be given to their wives.

Abhishek Anand, Deoghar

We cannot change everything by enacting laws. The growing number of dowry harassment cases bears testimony to this. The economic empowerment of women is the only solution, as political empowerment (of providing 33 per cent reservation in legislatures) has already taken a back seat.

A. Sowrirajan, Thanjavur

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