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More powers sought for women’s panel

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P.K. Sreemathy
P.K. Sreemathy

Special Correspondent

Kerala Women’s Commission (Amendment) Bill referred to Subject Committee

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy said in the Assembly on Wednesday that the Government will have to consider enhancing the powers of the State Women’s Commission.

The Minister was piloting the Kerala Women’s Commission (Amendment) Bill, which the House later referred to the Subject Committee.

The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued earlier to provide for vacation of office of the incumbent members of the Commission and to increase the number of members from three to six including the Chairperson. The ordinance also changed the status of the Secretary of the Commission to Member Secretary.

The Minister maintained that the Commission members were replaced to improve its functioning in view of increasing workload. Further measures would have to be considered for increasing its statutory powers. The Government would have to take a policy decision in the matter. The Opposition members, who spoke on the Bill, contended that the ordinance was issued for political purposes. The number of members was increased to accommodate nominees of various LDF constituents, they said.

The House also referred the Arthapalisa, Jenmibhogam and Karathilchilavu (Abolition) Bill to the Subject Committee.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, who piloted the Bill, said the ordinance which it sought to replace had been reissued seven times. The idea of the Bill, which seeks to abolish Arthapalisa, Jenmibhogam and Karathilchilavu, was mooted in 1959.

Policy for elderly

Social Welfare Minister P.K. Sreemathy has assured the Assembly that the Government would start initiatives in tune with its proclaimed policy on elderly people during the course of this year itself.

Replying to a submission from P. Jayarajan of the CPI(M), she said that, although the policy had been announced earlier this year, her department had not been given any budget allocation to implement it. However, matters would be set into motion this year itself, she said.

The Government’s idea is to name one of the existing corporations under the Social Welfare Department as the nodal agency for coordinating the initiatives for the welfare of elderly people.

The increasing life expectancy and the breaking up of the joint family system have started creating insecurity for a large number of elderly people. The policy was announced by the Government in the context of this fast emerging problem.

She said the Government was also considering legislative measures to make it obligatory for grownup children to look after their aged parents. The Union Government has also started thinking in that direction and the State is keenly looking to the Centre for ideas, she said.

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