Indian women deserted by their husbands in foreign countries will now have help at hand, with the Centre deciding on a scheme to provide them with free counselling and legal services.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has finalised the scheme wherein counselling and legal aid would be provided to the distressed women by a panel of community advocates through credible Indian associations and women's organisations empanelled with the country's Missions, sources said.
To begin with, the service will be provided in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and the Gulf where majority of the Indian expatriate community lives, they said.
Under the scheme, finalised at a high-level meeting in the ministry recently, organisations and NGOs will enlist Indian community advocates to do voluntary work and provide legal assistance and counselling services.
The scheme would cover women deserted in India or overseas within one year of the marriage and divorce proceedings initiated by the spouse within one year of the marriage.
Legal aid will also be provided if there is an ex-parte decree of divorce or annulment of the marriage is obtained by the spouse and a case of maintenance or alimony is required to be filed.